Air quality alert issued for Twin Cities, Rochester

12:55 PM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - An air pollution health alert has been issued Tuesday for residents of the Twin Cities and Rochester.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued the alert after fine particle pollution in the Twin Cities and Rochester reached levels considered unhealthy for sensitive groups overnight.

Fine particle concentrations are expected to remain at elevated levels through Tuesday morning. As wind speeds increase Tuesday afternoon air quality conditions are expected to improve. Still, the alert will remain in place through midnight.

Here are details provided by the MPCA.

At-risk Populations:

Populations sensitive to fine particles include those with preexisting cardiovascular or respiratory disease, the elderly, children, and individuals who participate in activities requiring extended or heavy exertion, both indoors and outdoors. Members of these groups are encouraged to postpone or reduce exercise or vigorous activity and minimize exposure to local sources of air pollution like (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, 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.

For information on current air quality conditions in your area, simply visit the MPCA website.


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