The Donora Death Fog

October 26, 1948. A mysterious fog descends upon the valley town of Donora, Pennsylvania. Most of its residents work at the local steel mill and are used to murky air. But there’s something different about this miasma of acrid vapors. People begin to cough convulsively; some have trouble breathing. Residents crowd into local doctors’ offices, some arriving at the doorstep gasping for breath. They wonder, what is happening to us?  The fog lifts from the valley 5 days later, leaving 20 people dead. What caused the Donora Death Fog? And how did it lead to the creation of the Clean Air Act?

Special thanks to our guests: Dr. Devra Davis, author of When Smoke Ran Like Water Tales Of Environmental Deception And The Battle Against Pollution; and Brian Charlton, from the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum. We’d also like to thank Mark Pawelec and David Lonich.

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