ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It's that time of year when we start to open windows and spend more time outdoors, but how safe is that fresh air you're breathing? Minnesota pollution control agency is doing its best to make sure it really is safe. The agency has installed new technology along I-94 near 35 W and Hiawatha to monitor something called Ultra Fine Particles.
"It's a very new type of air pollution that we're looking at, the science is still developing on this," says Frank Kohlasch with the MPCA.
The particles are so small that they can not only get into our lungs, but also move into our bloodstream, causing major health problems. The MPCA is using the new equipment to monitor how much of the particle is in our air. It comes from cars, coal, burning wood and even natural gas and propane, basically anything that is a combustible.
"We ultimately want to use this information to understand what are the levels that we see and what are the opportunities to work with the community to reduce that form of air pollution," says Kohlasch.
The equipment they installed comes from a Minnesota company called TSI. They are among just a few in the world on the cutting edge of this kind of pollution monitoring.
"Anytime there's a really small particle or large particle suspended in the air, we make the instruments to measure them," says Paul Leslie, TSI Americas Sales Manager, Research & Analytic Instruments.
Leslie says the company's products are used by the EPA right down to hospitals and construction companies. All of the data collected is taking us one step closer to a healthier environment.
"It's these investigations that will lead to more conclusions about health effects and perhaps future regulations," says Leslie.
And if you're the kind of person that will soon be affected by all the other things flying through the air, MPCA has a website and app that will tell you the conditions outside, so you can plan accordingly.