The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health advisory for the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metropolitan area and Rochester, effective Friday, March 8th through midday Saturday, March 9th.
Air quality monitors indicate that fine particle pollution is increasing across the southern two-thirds of the state. On Friday, early morning fog, high pressure, and light southerly winds are expected to cause fine particle pollution to approach a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. These conditions are expected to persist until midday Saturday, when increased wind speeds are expected to improve air quality conditions.
At-risk Populations: Fine particle pollution is expected to be near a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Populations sensitive to fine particles include those with preexisting cardiovascular or respiratory disease, the elderly, children, and individuals who participate in activities requiring extended or heavy exertion, both indoors and outdoors. Members of these groups are encouraged to postpone or reduce vigorous activity and minimize exposure to local sources of air pollution (i.e.,heavy duty vehicle traffic, wood fires, and candles). Even individuals who are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when pollution levels increase.
Health Impacts: Exposure to high levels of fine particles has been linked with both respiratory and cardiovascular health effects. Fine particles may exacerbate pre-existing health conditions and may cause individuals to experience chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing or fatigue. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician.
Pollution-reduction Tips: Fine particles are produced from combustion activities, which includes fossil fuel-based energy generation, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline-powered yard and lawn equipment, and wood burning. Conserving energy, buying clean renewable power, and utilizing alternate means of transportation, such as mass transit, will all reduce your daily contribution to air pollution. During air quality alerts, residents are particularly encouraged to postpone or reduce vehicle trips and engine idling, the use of gasoline-powered equipment, and burning wood.
Visit http://www.pca.state.mn.us for information on current air quality conditions.