The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued a release on Monday in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new standard for ground-level ozone, released the same day, detailing how the change will affect Minnesotans.
The EPA’s new standard lowers the acceptable level of ozone from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. According to the MPCA release, Minnesota is already in compliance with the lower rates, though some parts of the state come close to the new standard. Because of this, the agency will be continuing its work to lower ozone levels throughout the state.
Ozone, which is formed from chemical emission interacting with sunlight, is a protective agent when found in the upper atmosphere, where it blocks UV rays. Unfortunately, at the ground-level the compound is what we call smog, and it can be damaging to public health. It is especially troublesome to those with bronchitis, emphysema and asthma, as well as the children, the elderly and those working or exercising outdoors. Its effect on the lungs can be compared to a sunburn, and small amounts can be enough to negatively impact vulnerable members of society.