HomeBlogParticulate matter: what is PM10 and what is PM2.5? Atmospheric aerosols

Particulate matter: what is PM10 and what is PM2.5? Atmospheric aerosols

PM2.5 – the most harmful pollution

PM2.5 are atmospheric aerosols with a diameter no greater than 2.5 micrometers. This type of suspended dust is considered the most dangerous for human health. This is because the dust is very fine and in this form it can get directly into the bloodstream. It is this type of particulate matter that is responsible for:

  • worsening of asthma
  • decreased lung function
  • cancers of the lung, throat and larynx
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • inflammation of the blood vessels
  • atherosclerosis
  • lower birth weight of babies and breathing problems when exposed to dust during fetal development
  • worsening of symptoms of diseases related to the circulatory and respiratory systems

PM2.5 has appropriate standards, and  an alarm is issued when these are exceeded. As a result, many people think that ordinary air is free of PM2.5, but this is not true. In Poland, unfortunately, quite high concentrations are considered the norm, and in some places the alarm is not very publicized or announced so often few people care about it. For example, in Krakow, people rarely wearg anti-smog masks, although the air is of really poor quality. It is worth adding – for the sake of clarity – that WHO has set the standard for the average daily concentration of PM2.5 particulate matter at 25 micrograms per cubic meter, and the annual standard is 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

PM10 – harmful particulate matter

PM10 is a mixture of airborne particles that do not exceed 10 micrometers in diameter. It is harmful due to the content of elements such as benzopyrene, furans, dioxins – in a word, carcinogenic heavy metals. According to the WHO, the standard of the average daily concentration of this dust is 50 micrograms per cubic meter, and the annual standard is 20 micrograms per cubic meter. However, it is worth knowing that information about exceeded standards is announced when the daily concentration of PM10 is 200 micrograms per cubic meter – so you can clearly see how often we all think that the air is fine, while it is very polluted, but the level has not yet been reached.

PM10 is a particulate matter which, above all, has a negative effect on the respiratory system. It is he who is responsible for coughing attacks, wheezing, worsening of the condition of people with asthma or acute, violent bronchitis. PM10 also indirectly affects the rest of the body, including increasing the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Benzopyrene is also highly carcinogenic. As you can see, atmospheric aerosols of this type are very harmful to humans.

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