The U.S. EPA defines particulate air pollution as an air-suspended mixture of both solid and liquid particles. PM2.5, known as fine particles, poses the greatest health risk.

How is PM2.5 produced?

Particulate matter comes from both human and natural sources. Natural sources include sea salt, wildfire smoke from forest fires, pollen, and mold. Some particulate matter (PM), such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough that you can see them with the naked eye. Others are so small you can only see them by using an electron microscope. PM2.5 refers to microscopic particles less than 2.5µm (micrometers) in diameter. Human activities responsible for PM2.5 entering the atmosphere include:

  • Fuel-burning - both diesel and coal

  • Construction sites

  • Industrial emissions, such as power plants

  • Vehicle exhaust

What are the health risks and environmental effects of PM2.5?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified PM (Particulate Matter) as carcinogenic to humans. They estimate it causes the deaths of 3.7 million people worldwide per year.

Once inhaled, these small particles can settle deep in your lungs and get into your bloodstream. Once here, they, cause respiratory and cardiovascular issues. Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems. These include difficulty breathing, decreased lung function, leukemia, and even death. Children, the elderly, and those with existing heart and lung conditions are the most at risk.

Fine particles are also the primary cause of urban smog. They can cause irreparable damage to national parks and nature reserves by changing the acidity of lakes, depleting nutrients in the soil, and contributing to acid rain.

Why use an Aeroqual PM2.5 sensor?

Government and local authorities monitor PM to meet regulations and ensure the air is safe to breathe. Industries must also monitor PM and meet local regulatory requirements. These include industries such as:

  • Mines and quarries

  • Cement factories

  • Construction/demolition sites

  • Petrochemical plants

  • Agricultural/waste

Aeroqual offers a range of solutions for measuring PM2.5, including portable and fixed integrated monitoring systems. We also have a ‘smog monitor’,  designed to measure PM2.5 and ozone simultaneously. This gives an accurate real-time understanding of the formation and distribution of photochemical smog pollution.

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