top of page
Solar Panels on Rooftop


Read the latest from HealthFirstPA partners and other organizations concerned about how harmful pollution and other environmental factors affect public health.


HealthFirstPA partners held a webinar entitled “Pollution and Children's Health: East Palestine and Beyond.” Presenters discussed pollution and children's health, particularly in the context of the East Palestine chemical spill and its impacts on Western PA.



Vanessa Lynch, Mom's Clean Air Force

Rachel Meyer, Mom's Clean Air Force

Hilary Flint, Impacted Resident

Carolyn Heckman, Evangelical Environmental Network

Alison Steele, Environmental Health Project

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

HealthFirstPA and the Environmental Health Project hosted an introduction to "blue hydrogen" webinar, explaining how it will impact our environment and the health of our families.

This panel discussion offered a close look at blue hydrogen, an alternative form of energy based on fossil fuels (primarily methane gas) that uses a network of pipelines and carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce its carbon dioxide pollution. Blue hydrogen hubs have been much discussed recently in the media and were advanced in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. But what is blue hydrogen, and is it really a viable energy source or appropriate for certain uses? And what are the health risks of blue hydrogen hubs to residents living near these operations or the gas extraction sites on which they depend?




Mark Z. Jacobson is Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment and of the Precourt Institute for Energy. He received a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences in 1994 from UCLA and joined the faculty at Stanford in 1994. His career focuses on better understanding air pollution and global warming problems and developing large-scale clean, renewable energy solutions to them. He has published six textbooks and ~180 peer-reviewed journal articles. He is rated as the #1 most impactful scientist worldwide in the field of Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences among those first publishing after 1985 and has served on an advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.


Sasan Saadat is a Senior Research and Policy Analyst with Earthjustice – a public interest environmental law firm based in San Francisco. He works on the Right to Zero campaign where he advocates to speed the transition from fossil fuel combustion to zero-emission, clean energy, specifically in the freight sector. He has also written white papers scrutinizing the role of biofuels and hydrogen in a clean energy transition.


Makenzie White is the Public Health Manager at the Environmental Health Project. Makenzie received a BS in social work from Franciscan University in Steubenville and an MPH and MSW from the University of Pittsburgh. During graduate school, Makenzie focused on social administration and community health while also earning certifications in human services management and global health. Previously, she has worked with nonprofits providing services to adults and children with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and mental health disorders. She is currently a licensed and practicing social worker in Pittsburgh. Outside of work, Makenzie volunteers as the President of the Pittsburgh Professional Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a Disaster Service Associate with the American Red Cross, and a consultant for Engineers Without Borders USA.

Moderator Bio:


Dr. Ned Ketyer is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-area pediatrician. Dr. Ketyer enjoyed 26 years in private practice before retiring from patient care in 2017, although he continues to write a daily blog for AHN Pediatrics called The PediaBlog ( He remains a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health and Climate Change and is President of Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania. Dr. Ketyer is a consultant for the Environmental Health Project bringing attention to the health impacts of fracking in the Marcellus Shale gas patch.

​Dr. Ketyer’s work connects the rapid expansion of shale gas extraction (fracking) and petrochemical/plastic development in the Ohio River Valley with the local and regional health impacts currently experienced by residents, and the global ecologic and public health catastrophes resulting from plastic pollution and climate change that threaten the health and well-being of all passengers on this shining ball of blue.

By The Environmental Health Project

A number of legislators and industry representatives have recently touted “blue hydrogen” as a clean solution to many of the world’s energy challenges. Generally speaking, hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when used in a fuel cell, produces no pollution. The blue hydrogen process, however, is not the panacea some would make it out to be. And while energy experts have raised real questions about blue hydrogen’s environmental footprint and business model, there can be no doubt about one unwanted consequence: If blue hydrogen production ramps up, there will be an associated increase in the risks to public health.

Green hydrogen produced using solar energy might look like this.

What is blue hydrogen? To talk about blue hydrogen, we first need to talk about green hydrogen. (Different colors are assigned to represent the various hydrogen-producing processes.) Green hydrogen is created through a process of extracting hydrogen from water molecules, which can then be used as a light and highly reactive fuel, typically in hydrogen fuel cells (HFCs)—which operate like batteries— to be used in cars, laptops, or backup power system, or even in power plants. This technology is called “green” because it uses renewable sources of energy to extract the hydrogen and because the only byproduct of producing and using it is oxygen and water, making it very eco-friendly. No harmful emissions are produced and there are no costs associated with handling and storing toxic materials like diesel fuel or battery acid.

bottom of page