MPCA issues air pollution advisory for parts of southern Minnesota

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972

St. Paul, Minn. — Fine particle pollution is elevated in parts of southwest and south central Minnesota, and is expected to remain elevated through early Wednesday morning. As of 11:00 a.m., the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) reported that fine particle pollution had reached a level that is unhealthy for sensitive groups. The affected area covers a diagonal band which includes Marshall, Redwood Falls, New Ulm and Hutchinson. Conditions are likely to improve overnight Tuesday, when a cold front with increased wind speeds and precipitation is expected to disperse the pollution.

The MPCA issues an air pollution health advisory when air quality conditions reach unhealthy for sensitive group levels, or an AQI is greater than 101. For current air quality conditions visit the Air Quality Index webpage.

At-risk populations: When fine particle pollution exceeds 101, certain sensitive groups may experience health effects. Sensitive groups include those with cardiovascular or respiratory disease, the elderly, children, and individuals who participate in indoor or outdoor activities requiring extended or heavy exertion. 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, 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.

For more information about air quality and health, visit BeAirAwareMN.org. To receive daily air quality forecasts and air quality alert notifications by email or text message, sign up on the Enviroflash webpage.