Tiny bits of doom (PM2.5)
Finetex ㅣ 2016-08-22 ㅣ 3708
What is Particulate Matter? What is PM2.5?
Particulate matter (PM) is a term used to describe the mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air. It can be either human-made or naturally occurring. Some examples include dust, ash and sea-spray. Particulate matter (including soot) is emitted during the combustion of solid and liquid fuels, such as for power generation, domestic heating and in vehicle engines. Particulate matter varies in size (i.e. the diameter or width of the particle). PM2.5 means the mass per cubic metre of air of particles with a size (diameter) generally less than 2.5 micrometres (µm). PM2.5 is also known as fine particulate matter (2.5 micrometres is one 400th of a millimetre).
Health Effects of PM:
Inhalation of particulate pollution can have adverse health impacts, and there is understood to be no safe threshold below which no adverse effects would be anticipated. The biggest impact of particulate air pollution on public health is understood to be from long-term exposure to PM2.5, which increases the age-specific mortality risk, particularly from cardiovascular causes. Several plausible mechanisms for this effect on mortality have been proposed, although it is not yet clear which is the most important. Exposure to high concentrations of PM (e.g. during short-term pollution episodes) can also exacerbate lung and heart conditions, significantly affecting quality of life, and increase deaths and hospital admissions. Children, the elderly and those with predisposed respiratory and cardiovascular disease, are known to be more susceptible to the health impacts from air pollution.
Source: UK Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (http://laqm.defra.gov.uk/public-health/pm25.html)
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