Editor's Note: The following is a press release from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health advisory due to forecasted increases in ozone pollution for the Twin Cities metropolitan area and Rochester effective from noon until midnight on Wednesday, June 27.
At-risk Populations: Ozone is expected to near a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Those sensitive to ozone include people with preexisting respiratory conditions, the elderly, children, and individuals who participate in outdoor activities requiring extended or heavy exertion. These individuals are encouraged to postpone or reduce vigorous outdoor activity, or schedule outdoor activity in the morning, when ozone levels are lower. Even persons who are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when ozone levels increase.
Health Impacts: Elevated levels of ozone have been linked with respiratory health effects. Exposure to high levels of ozone may exacerbate preexisting health conditions. High ozone levels may make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously, cause shortness of breath and breathing discomfort, and result in coughing and a sore or scratchy throat. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician.
Pollution-reduction Tips: Ozone is produced on hot, sunny days by a chemical reaction between volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen. These pollutants are released from motor vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, paints and solvents, refueling stations, and other activities that require fuel combustion. Conserving energy; buying clean, renewable power; and utilizing alternative means of transportation will all reduce your contribution to air pollution. During air quality advisories, residents are particularly encouraged to postpone or reduce vehicle trips; engine idling and refueling; the use of gasoline-powered equipment; working with paints and solvents; and burning wood.
Current Air Quality Conditions and Forecast: On Wednesday, June 27, forecasted temperatures in the low 90s, clear sunny skies, and moderate southwesterly winds carrying wildfire smoke are expected to promote the creation of ozone in the Twin Cities and Rochester. As a result, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is forecasted to reach 97 AQI in the Twin Cities and 93 AQI in Rochester on Wednesday, which is just below air quality conditions considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Ozone concentrations will be the lowest in the morning hours and will gradually rise in the afternoon and early evening. Ozone concentrations will begin to decline overnight. Increased winds speeds and slightly cooler temperatures are expected to improve air quality conditions to an AQI in the mid-60’s on Thursday.
For hourly air quality updates, visit the MPCA AQI webpage 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.