Air pollution alert issued for today, SaturdayPublished 10:25am Friday, March 8, 2013
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says the next couple days will be unusually smoggy.
The MPCA has issued an air pollution health advisory for the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metropolitan area and Rochester, effective today through midday Saturday. Air quality monitors indicate fine particle pollution is increasing across the southern two-thirds of the state. Today, early morning fog, high pressure, and light southerly winds are expected to cause fine particle pollution to be near 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 pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, elderly, children and individuals who participate in activities of 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 include fossil fuel-based energy generation, 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 daily contribution to air pollution. Residents are particularly encouraged to postpone or reduce vehicle trips and engine idling, the use of gasoline-powered equipment and burning wood.