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Air Quality Impact on Minnesotans

June 11, 2019 08:31 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- According to federal air quality standards, Minnesota is generally in good standing but on occasions, the air quality can be altered. Officials say that pollution is a contributing factor to a large number of yearly deaths.

"2 to 4000 deaths every year in Minnesota are attributable at least in part to exposure to air quality concerns," said Jan Malcolm, the Minnesota Commissioner of Health. 

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A report in 2015 supported air quality concerns in the Twin Cities. New data that was presented on Tuesday at the Chester Woods Park in Eyota, pinpoints specific populations and diseases that affect the entire state of Minnesota.

"Certain population groups are more vulnerable than others. The elderly particularly are vulnerable to even small changes in air quality as are children with asthma, anyone with underlying heart and lung conditions. But also people living in lower income communities, and communities of color," said Malcolm.

Pollution both in and outdoors is a collection of things from, smoking, to bonfires and fuel. Minnesota is also a collection of diverse people with many different health needs and conditions- which is why Mayor Kim Norton suggests using the air quality app as she does.

Minnesotans can use the app to determine good or poor air quality days. Good being represented by green and poor colors ranging from red to purple. Even though the app alerts you and can help you adjust your day, officials say for some, the slightest changes in air quality can be dangerous.

"Even fairly low levels of exposure to fine particulate matter or ozone does have a measurable impact on health," said Malcolm.

The road to a healthier, cleaner Minnesota is possible with the help of Minnesotans.

By following simple tips like fueling later in the day, or making fewer trips, using public transit or choosing not to have a bonfire on a poor air quality day -- not only could push Minnesota in the direction of no pollution, but you could save a life.

"If we continue to reduce pollution on the same trajectory that we have been over the last decade, we'll be saving 2 to 500 lives per year," said Malcolm.

KAAL-TV

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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