The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified particulate matter 2.5 as an air pollutant for which there is strong evidence that it is linked to serious health problems, including premature death in people with heart or lung disease, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and aggravated asthma.
What is Particulate Matter 2.5?
Particulate matter (PM) is a term used to describe the mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Although most people call it “soot” or “smoke,” PM2.5 (particles in the air that are 2.5 micrometers or smaller in diameter) is the critical pollutant that poses the greatest threat to human health. PM2.5 is an atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that has a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 3% the diameter of human hair.
Composition: The main components of PM2.5 are sulfate, nitrate, ammonia, sodium chloride, black carbon, mineral dust, and water.
Sources: Primary sources include combustion processes (motor vehicles, power plants), industrial processes, and vegetation. Secondary sources form PM2.5 when gases from primary sources react in the atmosphere.
Health Impacts: The most important impacts are on cardio-pulmonary mortality due to lung cancer and heart disease. Studies suggest that for every increase of 10 μg/m3 in PM2.5, cardiopulmonary mortality increases by 6%. Long-term exposure to particle pollution can also cause chronic bronchitis, damage to lung tissue, and the development or worsening of asthma or bronchitis symptoms such as coughing or difficulty breathing in individuals with asthma. Chronic exposure to particle pollution has also been linked with the development of other health problems such as lung cancer or cardiovascular disease over time.
What are safe PM 2.5 levels?
The safe level of PM2.5 is based on the level of air pollution, so there is no specific number that can be considered safe. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the safe limit for PM2.5 is 10 μg/m3.
PM2.5 is a type of particle that comes from burning fossil fuels, such as gas or oil. It can also come from natural sources, such as dust storms and forest fires.
Some people believe that PM2.5 particles are too small to have an effect on their health, but this is not true. In fact, it’s thought that these smaller particles are more harmful than larger ones because they’re able to travel deeper into the lungs and pass into the bloodstream more easily.
The health effects of PM2.5 vary according to how high it is in the atmosphere, as well as how long you’re exposed to it. Long-term exposure increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems.
What does PM 2.5 AQI mean?
The air quality index (AQI) for PM 2.5 is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air.
EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. For each of these pollutants, EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health. Ground-level ozone and airborne particles are the two pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health in this country.