What is Particulate Matter?
Considering the health effects of particulate matter, it’s no surprise that facility managers and building owners want to prevent it from polluting the air in their environments.
Particulate matter, sometimes known as particle pollution or simply “PM,” is one of the most common biological pollutants found in indoor air . PM is a mixture of microscopic particles and liquid droplets made up of numerous components, including nitrates, sulfates, dust particles, organic chemicals, metals, or soil.
Health Effects of Particulate Matter
Studies have found that the health effects of particulate matter are significant. Particulate matter can cause cardiovascular issues such as arrhythmias and heart attacks, as well as respiratory problems like bronchitis and asthma. In some cases, exposure to particle pollution can lead to premature death. According to the EPA, particulate matter can cause increased hospital admissions, ER visits, work or school absences, and restricted activity days for those with pre-existing health conditions.
Symptoms can include the temporary irritation of your eyes, nose, throat, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness.
Particles that are 10 micrometers or less (PM10) can enter your lungs when passing through your nose and throat. Once inhaled, these biological pollutants adversely affect your heart and lungs, causing serious health issues. Fine particles are those that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less, often found in smoke, haze, forest fires, or when gases react in the air.
In terms of environmental impact, PM can cause haze, environmental damage, and can stain stone and other materials, which can harm objects that are culturally important. When outdoor particle levels are high, indoor levels are usually elevated, especially in regions where wildfires are common. You can determine when particle levels are expected to be unhealthy by checking local media for air quality forecasts.