Ozone levels dangerous today in Twin Cities, officials say
State officials issued an air pollution health alert today due to elevated ozone levels.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued the alert for the Twin Cities Metropolitan area effective from 1 p.m. through midnight tonight.
At-risk Populations: Ozone levels are expected to reach a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Populations sensitive to ozone include those with preexisting respiratory conditions, the elderly, children, and individuals who participate in activities requiring extended or heavy outdoor exertion. Members of these groups are encouraged to postpone or reduce vigorous outdoor activity, or schedule outdoor activity in the morning hours when ozone levels are lowest. Even individuals who are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when pollution levels increase.
Health Impacts: Elevated levels of ozone have been linked with respiratory health effects. Exposure to high levels of ozone may trigger pre-existing health conditions and may make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously, cause shortness of breath and breathing discomfort, and result in coughing and sore or scratchy throat. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician.
Pollution-reduction Tips: Ozone is produced in hot, sunny weather by a chemical reaction between volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen. These pollutants are released from motor vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, paints and solvents, refueling stations, and other activities which require fuel combustion. 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, paint, and solvents, and burning wood.
Current Air Quality Conditions and Forecast: Mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper-90s are enhancing ozone formation in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. Furthermore, transported smoke from wildfires in Arizona will aid ozone and particle production. As a result, AQI levels will be Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups for ozone. Tomorrow, a cold front will move through the Twin Cities in the morning, causing winds to become moderate west-northwesterly and bringing in a cooler, cleaner air mass. These conditions will disperse pollutants and lower AQI levels to low-Moderate. Air quality is expected to return to good conditions Thursday.
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.
Do not reply directly to this email. If you want more information on the air quality forecast, or other aspects of the local air quality program, please contact your local air quality agency using the information above. For more information on the U.S. EPA's AIRNow Program, visit http://www.airnow.gov.