How is PM2.5 produced?
You’ve probably heard PM 2.5 in recent science or health publications, or even in the news as part of coverage of wildfires or other air pollution events. It can have serious health consequences for you and your family. But what does this word mean? And how is it linked to respiratory diseases, heart attacks and other health problems and more importantly, how can you reduce your exposure to it?
What is PM2.5?
PM 2.5 refers to homogeneous particles of measure PM2.5. The average diameter of a human hair is 50 microns. PM stands for “particles”. The EPA and many health authorities classify particles by size. This is because particles of different sizes have different health effects. For example, PM 10 particles (particles smaller than 10 microns) can irritate your nose and eyes. Few of these particles penetrate deep into your lungs.
Particles of 2.5 microns or smaller are considered extremely hazardous to human health. Because it crosses many body barriers, nose hairs, mucous membranes and other barriers. It works to trap these tiny particles before they get deep into the body. That said, PM 2.5 particles can enter the lungs. It can eventually reach the alveoli and enter the bloodstream.
PM 2.5 particles are complex. because they can be made up of a wide variety of chemicals and substances. and may be partially liquid. Contaminant particles that consist wholly or partly of a liquid droplet compared to solids, such as general dust particles, are called aerosols. Natural aerosols include dust, sea salt and volcanic ash. while man-made sources include exhaust from factories and cars. burning coal and burning biomass to clear land or farm.
Tip: Did you know PM isn’t the whole story when it comes to air quality? Learn about pollution other than PM here and learn more about what the air purification industry isn’t telling you.
What Causes PM 2.5 Pollution?
PM 2.5 pollution can come from a variety of sources, making it a very complex form of pollution. Some PM 2.5 sources emit particles directly. Known as ‘primary sources’ including wildfires. Some power plants and industrial processes. Secondary PM 2.5 particles, however, occur when various chemicals are concentrated in the air. Chemicals from coal-fired power plants or vehicle exhaust react with air, water vapor and sunlight to form new particles or compounds. . And these particles can be as small as 2.5 microns because of the many ways that particles are formed by chemical compounds. A number of variables, such as region, weather, including climate and human activities, make it nearly impossible to determine which chemicals are present in PM2.5 particles on any given day.
There are sources of PM2.5 indoors that can affect your health, even if the air outside is free of pollution. Or if you close the windows on a bad day Common indoor sources are fire and coal. Not to mention the smoke from cooking candles
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Why is PM 2.5 dangerous?
A number of health studies have shown that higher levels of PM2.5 in the air may be associated with increased adverse health effects. including an increased incidence of respiratory disease. Worsening respiratory symptoms and effects on the cardiovascular system can lead to heart attack and death.
PM 2.5 has long-term effects. This is because these particles interact with the body when they enter the lungs. “It is filtered through the nasal hair with the airflow to the end of the airway where it collects. by diffusion and destruction to other parts of the body via air exchange in the lungs.” [Yu-Fei et al., 2016] What makes PM 2.5 so dangerous is that it is so difficult to leave the body.This has proven that prevention is a good solution, while PM10 can be excreted by coughing, sneezing , etc. PM 2.5 can’t.
A 2010 study found that “exposure to PM2.5… over a period of several hours to weeks can cause cardiovascular-related deaths and non-fatal events. Long-term exposure (e.g. a few years) increases the risk of cardiovascular death to a greater extent than exposure over a few days and reduces life expectancy by … months to several years