SAINT PAUL, Minn., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Minnesota received its air quality grades in the 2012 State of the Air Report, released today by the American Lung Association. On the whole, the state earned improved grades for the number and severity of "high ozone days," but scored lower grades for "high particle pollution days." Duluth was one of five municipal areas ranked by the national report as a "cleanest city" for both ozone and year-round particle pollution. A link to the full report can be found at www.lungmn.org.
The State of the Air Report covers 18 counties that have permanent air quality monitors maintained by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The grades are determined by using a weighted average of three years of data (2008-2010) that have been verified by the EPA.
Anoka, Becker, Carlton, Goodhue, Lake, Lyon, Mille Lacs, Olmsted, St. Louis, Scott, Stearns, Washington and Wright counties all earned "A" grades for ozone in the 2012 report, while Crow Wing earned a "B."
Of the seven counties graded on particulate pollution, St. Louis County received a "B," the state's best grade for high particle pollution days. Ramsey County, however, earned an "F" and its score for particulate pollution has dropped each year since 2010, when it earned a "C" grade. Stearns County also dropped from a "B" to a "C". Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted and Scott counties all earned a "C" for particle pollution this year.
Slumping scores for particle pollution are reason for concern. Increases in particle pollution can lead to early death, heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for people with asthma and cardiovascular disease.
Minnesotans can play a large role in reducing air pollution, by decreasing energy use at home, avoiding recreational fires or mowing lawns on air quality alert days, and taking advantage of less polluting transportation options, as tailpipe emissions are the largest source of air pollution in Minnesota.
"The solutions today are not going to be the same ones used in the past," says David Thornton of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. "It's an opportunity to say that the greatest potential for future air pollution reductions will be from consumers, drivers and small business. Right now business, government, and nonprofit leaders are talking about these solutions and the way forward to protecting clean air in Minnesota."
SOURCE American Lung Association in Minnesota