The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health advisory for the southern two-thirds of the state, including the Twin Cities, Rochester, St. Cloud, Duluth and the Brainerd lakes area, effective today Monday July 28th through Saturday August 2nd. Hot sunny weather, light winds and building humidity are creating favorable conditions for high-end moderate ozone and fine particle pollution.
The MPCA's air quality forecasting service indicates that weather patterns over the next 4-5 days are likely to contribute to pockets of unhealthy air across the state. Ozone and particle levels are both elevated, though ozone is expected to be the primary pollutant today with fine particles the main pollutant tomorrow. An air pollution health advisory is issued when conditions are forecast to have Air Quality Index (AQI) readings around 90, which is near the threshold of an air alert issued at 100 AQI and above.
Those who have respiratory or cardiovascular problems, young children, the elderly, and individuals whom are physically active are considered especially sensitive to elevated levels of air pollution. Be prepared to postpone or reduce vigorous activity. Ozone and fine particles can be drawn deeply into the lungs, so reduce activities that lead to deep or accelerated breathing. Even individuals that are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when air pollutant levels increase.
Reduce Air Pollution:
Limit driving: carpool, combine trips, and use alternate means of transportation like biking, walking, and mass transit. If you do drive, avoid idling, keep your vehicle well tuned and ensure your tires are fully inflated.
Postpone pollution producing activities: gasoline powered lawn equipment, recreational fires, paints and solvents, and gasoline refueling all add potentially harmful pollutants into the air. Delay these activities until air quality conditions have improved.
Reduce your energy consumption: set your thermostat a little higher in the summer and lower in the winter and turn off/unplug unnecessary electrical devices to reduce demand on (and pollution from) power plants.
For hourly air quality conditions check the MPCA Web site at: http://aqi.pca.state.mn.us/ or call 651-297-1630.
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