A Quick Particulate Matter Lesson
"Particulate matter," also known as particle pollution or PM, is a complex
mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. It is made up
of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates),
organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles.
The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. The EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects. EPA groups particulate matter into two categories:
The EPA regulates inhalable particles (PM2.5 and PM10). Particles larger than 10 micrometers (sand and large dust) are not regulated by the EPA, and this is why the forecasts provided by the WMCAC (through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) only include fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at this time. For more information on EPA particulate matter standards click here.
What Negative Effects are Associated with Particulate Matter Pollution?
Numerous scientific studies have linked particulate matter exposure to a variety of problems, including:
People with heart or lung diseases, children and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particulate matter exposure. However, even if you are healthy, you may experience temporary symptoms from exposure to elevated levels of particulate matter.
Pollution and Your Health: Learn who is at risk from exposure to particulate
matter, what health effects you may experience as a result of exposure
to this pollutant, and simple measures you can take to reduce your risk.
(PDF, 2 pp, 320 KB)
The West Michigan Clean Air Coalition is a partnership of businesses, academic institutions, government agencies, industry, and non-profit organizations in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, and Kalamazoo counties working together to achieve cleaner air in the region through the education and promotion of voluntary emission reduction activities.
|©2006 West Michigan Clean Air Coalition. All Rights Reserved. | E-Mail the Webmaster | Page last updated Friday, January 13, 2012.|