Air Quality Index - Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Air Quality Index

Outdoor Air

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Air Quality Index

The MPCA uses four pollutants to calculate the AQI: ground level ozone, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and fine particles.

The AQI uses numbers from 0 to 500 to tell you how polluted the outdoor air is and possible effects on human health. Readings of 0-50 are described as Good, 51-100 Moderate, 101-150 Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, 151-200 Unhealthy, 201-300 Very Unhealthy, and 301 and above Hazardous. Minnesota’s AQI is rarely in the unhealthy range or very unhealthy range.

When an air quality alert is issued, the MPCA also provides steps you can take to protect yourself.

An elevated AQI in Minnesota is commonly the result of high levels of either ozone or particulate matter. The Minnesota Department of Health provides answers to questions about ozone and particulate matter.

The MPCA developed posters (11 X 17 inches) and cards (5-½ X 8-½ inches) with color-coded AQI categories and recommendations. The posters are available in English, Hmong, Lao, Spanish and Somali.  The cards are available in English, Hmong, Lao, Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese.

(5 ½ X 8 ½ inches)


(11 X 17 inches)

If you have any comments on the accuracy of the translations, please contact the Asthma Program at:

Air Quality Guidance for Schools &
Child Care Facilities

The color-coded table provides physical activity recommendations based upon the forecasted level of air pollution, the intensity of the activity, and the duration of the physical activity.  The colors on this guidance document are similar to the MPCA AIQ publications.  Use of this table by school personnel and child care staff is voluntary.

The following recommendations for alternatives to outdoor activities on days when the air quality is poor were created by a group of health organizations, school officials and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (California).

Wood Smoke Resources

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency



  • Burn Wise
    Burn Wise is a partnership program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that emphasizes the importance of burning the right wood,
    the right way, in the right wood-burning appliance to protect your home, health, and the air we breathe.

  • Wood smoke and your health
    Burning wood increases exposures to fine particles and other chemicals that may trigger asthma.

  • Wood smoke and the air we breathe
    Burning wood can impact the health of your family and others around you.

New York Attorney General

Office of the New York Attorney General
Smoke Gets in Your Lungs: Outdoor Wood Boilers in New York State (PDF 756KB/36 pages)

Homeowners, especially in rural communities, are increasingly turning to wood burning units installed outside of the home, known as outdoor wood boilers, to heat their homes.

Updated Monday, June 08, 2015 at 11:50AM