2010 Feb. 5: MN St. Cloud: "Postpone recreational fires" St. Cloud’s air quality slips into danger area for some people
By Lisa Schwarz
Pollution and weather conditions have combined to send St. Cloud’s air quality into dangerous territory for some people today.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says fine particles in the air sent the air quality index to 114 in St. Cloud this morning. Readings from 101-150 are deemed unhealthy for sensitive groups, which include people with heart or lung problems and elderly people.
Vulnerable people are likely to see increased respiratory symptoms, aggravation of heart or lung disease and the potential for premature mortality for people with cardiopulmonary diseases and the elderly, according to the MPCA. The air conditions may cause chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue. People with those symptoms should contact a physician.
AQI readings above 150 are deemed unhealthy for everyone.
The fine particles responsible for today’s advisory are tiny liquid droplets and particles in the air. Major sources of particulate pollution are vehicles, coal-fired power plants, wood burning and livestock.
The pollution problem is being worsened by a layer of warm air aloft and relatively calm winds, which prevent the particles in the air from being dispersed.
The MPCA advises people to reduce their driving and limit vehicle idling time, postpone recreational fires and limit use of small gas and diesel engines.