The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air pollution health alert for the Twin Cities and Rochester for today.
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 in the Twin Cities, Rochester, Marshall, St. Cloud and Detroit Lakes areas.
Hourly pollution monitors indicate that fine particle levels have begun to fall in western Minnesota; however elevated concentrations persist in the Twin Cities and Rochester.
Air-quality conditions are expected to improve statewide on Tuesday, March 9, as an approaching low-pressure system produces moderate east-southeasterly winds and enhances vertical mixing.
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 particle 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 that 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.