Air pollution alert issued for the metro area

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has upgraded the severity and geographic range of the air pollution health advisory issued yesterday, March 6. The agency has now placed the eastern two-thirds of Minnesota under an air pollution health alert. In this portion of the state, air quality conditions are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.


Strong temperature inversions, snow melt, and morning fog are trapping fine particle pollution near the surface across much of the state today. Air quality conditions are expected to improve as a slow moving frontal system passes over Minnesota. Conditions will first improve in the west and are expected to improve in the easternmost parts of the state by this evening. Updated information on air quality conditions across the state is available on the MPCA’s Air Quality Index website at


Health precautions:

Those who have respiratory or cardiovascular problems, young children, the elderly, and individuals whom are physically active are considered especially sensitive to elevated levels of air pollution. Be prepared to postpone or reduce vigorous activity. Ozone and fine particles can be drawn deeply into the lungs, so reduce activities that lead to deep or accelerated breathing. Even people who are otherwise healthy may feel health effects when air pollutant levels increase.

How you can help:

Residents can take simple steps to help reduce pollution that creates smog. Motor vehicle emissions contribute to fine particle pollution. To lower levels of air pollution, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency urges residents to use alternate modes of transportation such as a bus or train, car pools, biking and walking whenever possible.

Measures that will help reduce emissions on days when the air quality index reaches 100 and above include:

1. Limit driving - share a ride or take public transportation to work and postpone errands until the next day.

2. Don’t idle your vehicle for more than three minutes.*

3. Refuel your vehicle after 6 p.m.

4. Postpone using other gasoline-powered engines.

5. Postpone indoor and outdoor recreational fires.

6. To reduce the demand on power plants, turn off as many electric items as possible.

7. If you fall in the sensitive group category, arrange to work indoors for the day.

The Air Quality Index is updated hourly (during the day) by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. You can sign up for alerts at

*The City of Minneapolis has limits on vehicle idling that aim to reduce air pollution in Minneapolis. The ordinance limits most vehicle idling to three minutes, except in traffic. Reducing vehicle idling in Minneapolis translates into less air pollution, protecting the public health and the environment and saving money in fuel. Vehicle motors release particulate matter, dirt, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the air.



Published Mar 7, 2014



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