The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has extended the air pollution health alert issued for the Twin Cities and Rochester for Monday, March 8, through Tuesday, March 9. An air pollution healthy advisory has been issued for the same areas on Wednesday, March 10. An air pollution health advisory has also been issued for the southern two-thirds of the state including: Duluth, Detroit Lakes, Brainerd, and Marshall areas for today through Wednesday.
Fine particle levels are elevated across much of the central United States with unhealthy for sensitive group conditions being reported in the Twin Cities, Rochester, eastern Wisconsin and Chicago. Dense fog overnight, which aids in fine particle production, and calm winds, have allowed fine particle concentrations to build to levels considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Fine particle levels are expected to gradually fall this afternoon as the fog dissipates. However, calm winds and high relative humidity will continue to trap pollutants, keeping air quality conditions unhealthy for sensitive groups. As winds become more easterly on Tuesday, additional pollutants will be transported into the region, which is expected to lead to unhealthy for sensitive group conditions in the Twin Cities and Rochester, and high-moderate conditions across much of Minnesota.
Those with respiratory or cardiovascular disease, young children, the elderly and individuals who participate in activities that require heavy exertion are the most sensitive to elevated levels of air pollution. Since fine particles can be drawn deeply into the lungs, it is a good idea to reduce or postpone activities that lead to deep or accelerated breathing. Exposure to high levels of fine particles may cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and/or coughing and fatigue, even after air quality has improved. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician. Even individuals who are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when air pollution increases.
Everyone can help reduce air pollution. Reducing motor vehicle emissions by carpooling, combining trips, avoiding idling, and using alternate transportation all help. Avoiding burning wood and reducing energy consumption is also recommended.
For hourly air quality updates, visit the MPCA AQI Web site at http://aqi.pca.state.mn.us/. Sign up at http://mn.enviroflash.info to receive daily air quality forecasts and air pollution health alerts by email or text message.