The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health alert for the Twin Cities metropolitan area and Rochester through midnight on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Overnight, fine particle pollution in the Twin Cities and Rochester reached levels considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Fine particle concentrations are expected to remain elevated through Tuesday morning. As wind speeds increase this afternoon, air quality conditions are expected to improve.
At Risk Populations: Fine particle pollution has reached 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 that 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 that 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 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 in your area.