Poor air quality in central Minnesota due to forest fires in Canada

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Contact: Mike Rafferty, 651-757-2662 

St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air pollution health advisory for northcentral Minnesota due to smoke blowing in from forest fires in Canada. Air quality is expected to remain poor until midday Sunday, July 5.

The MPCA issues an air pollution health advisory when air quality conditions reach unhealthy for sensitive group levels, or an AQI greater than 101.

At-risk populations: Fine particle pollution is expected to reach 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 who 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 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.

To receive daily air quality forecasts and air quality alert notifications by email or text message sign up at http://mn.enviroflash.info.