Minnesota’s Air Pollution Grades Slip In Annual Report
Media contact from ALA in MN: Robert Moffitt (651) 269-7561
(April 20, 2016) - Saint Paul, Minn.
Minnesota earned largely poorer grades for air quality in the annual American Lung Association State of the Air Report released today. Anoka County earned the state’s lowest grade, a “D” for ozone pollution. Becker, Lake, Lyon, Scott, St. Louis and Wright counties all received lower scores for ozone this year. Washington County was the state’s sole bright spot for ozone, improving from a “B” grade to an “A.”
Minnesota’s scores were mixed for particulate pollution, with Anoka and St. Louis counties moving from “B” to “A” grades and Lyon and Olmsted counties both slipping from “A” to “B” grades. Washington County, which was given an “incomplete” grade in last year’s report, earned a “B” grade this year.
Ozone and particle pollution can trigger asthma attacks, put people at higher risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and are a particular health concern for people with preexisting lung disease, the very young and the elderly.
The State of the Air Report covers a three year period from 2012 to 2014, analyzing data collected at air quality monitors operated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Grades are determined by the number of air quality alerts for ozone or particle pollution that occurred during those three years. A link to the State of the Air Report website and the full report can be found here.
The American Lung Association report comes as Minnesota lawmakers are debating energy polices such as the expansion of wind and solar power, the future of the state’s aging coal-fired and nuclear power plants, and developing a state response to the federal government’s Clean Power Plan rules. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the Clean Power Plan would cut traditional air pollutants like ozone and particulates.
“Moving forward with the Clean Power Plan and our state’s clean power initiatives will also benefit air quality and public health in Minnesota,” said Robert Moffitt, communications director, American Lung Association in Minnesota. “As the state and federal government makes changes to improve air quality, we as individuals can also contribute.”
The American Lung Association in Minnesota recommends reducing vehicle idling whenever possible, using cleaner fuels like ethanol blends, biodiesel or electric vehicles, and not mowing lawns, refueling vehicles or lighting backyard fires when air quality alerts have been issued. For more tips and information on air pollution, visit CleanAirChoice.org.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.