ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is issuing a health advisory to anyone who’s sensitive to elevated levels of ozone.
The advisory is for the southern two-thirds of Minnesota and it will be in effect until midnight tonight.
Cassie McMahon, Air Quality Specialist with MPCA, says that wildfires play a part in creating ozone.
“One of the things that aiding the ozone formation today is that we actually have a little bit of transport from the wildfire in Utah and New Mexico,” said McMahon. “It’s not enough to issue a fine particle alert but it enough that it’s encouraging a bit more of those chemical reactions that create ozone.”
Sensitive groups include people with a preexisting respiratory problem, the elderly and children.
The MPCA is also warning individuals who participate in outdoor activities that require heavy exertion.
“When it’s on the ground level and you inhale it… if you’re already sensitive to air pollution… let’s say you have asthma or other respiratory diseases, it may cause you to have shortness of breath, extra coughing or it could induce an asthma attack,” she said.
Ozone is produced on hot, sunny days by a chemical reaction between organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen that usually come from car exhaust or lawn and garden equipment.
The Ozone Air Quality Index (AQI) in Rochester is expected to reach 97 and 93 in the Twin Cities. Anything near the 100 mark is considered unhealthy. On average day the AQI is about 33 or 44.