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Andrea Domaskin, Published June 02 2008

SAFE Coalition promotes study showing indoor air pollution levels in Fargo bars

FARGO - Air in Fargo bars is on average 54 times more polluted than smoke-free Moorhead bars, a Fargo Cass Public Health official said this morning.

The figure comes from a study of 10 randomly selected bars in Fargo where smoking is permitted and six bars in Moorhead, said Chelsey Matter, the agency’s cessation coordinator, at a press conference organized by the Smoke-free Air for Everyone Coalition.

Smoking in Moorhead bars is prohibited by Minnesota law, which went into effect last Octover. In Fargo, voters will decide on two smoking bans on the June 10 ballot.

The SAFE Coalition is campaigning for Measure 2, which would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces, including bars.

Measure 3, supported by local bars and others in the industry, would essentially keep the current smoking ban in Fargo. Bars would be exempt from the ban.

Volunteer researchers in May used air monitors to measure the levels of fine particle air pollution in the bars. The bar names have not been released.

The study, released today, was commissioned by the American Heart Association and supervised by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.

It showed the level of fine particle indoor air pollution was 54 times higher in Fargo bars than in Moorhead bars.

Indoor particle pollution levels in Moorhead were about the same as outdoor air, about 6 micrograms per cubic meter, according to a study summary.

The levels in Fargo bars were 325 micrograms per cubic meter.

For more on this story, read Tuesday’s Forum.