PM 2.5 hides in the smoke
You may not notice, but it gets in your lungs.
PM10 defines particles less than 10 microns (Áms) in diameter. PM10 particles can remain in the air for several days, and be spread by winds far from the original source. Heavy construction and traffic stirs up a lot of PM10.
PM10 - PM2.5 are termed "coarse" size particulates.
PM2.5 2.5 microns (Áms) or smaller in diameter particles which tend to float around in the air for a long time. People then breathe them in all day long.
Tiny Particles and Health
Air Particulate pollution is bad stuff, especially if you breathe a lot of it. Those tiny particles get way down deep in your lungs where they stay. They can even get into your blood stream and travel around your system. Health effects of these tiny invaders includes lung cancer, asthma, heart problems, shortness of breath, bronchitis, painful breathing, and premature death.
Air particulate pollution tends to be even harder on kids since their respiratory and immune systems are still growing. Kids may get acute and chronic breathing problems like asthma from PM. For instance, some 40 percent of those with asthma are kids...even though they are only 25% of the population.
There are many published studies linking air pollution to a list of health problems and diseases.
Air Particulate Pollution
Gray brown clouds of air particulate pollution are clearly not healthy. However, there is a nearly invisible component of pollution you may never see that can mess up your life way worse. The tiny suspended particles are very hard to see. You probably will not see these tiny particles getting into your lungs...but they are!
The particles that can mess you up are very small indeed. They are measured in terms of Microns. The sizes that cause people the most problems are from 10 down to 2.5 microns and smaller in diameter.
Tiny Particles are bad for people:
PM 2.5 particles are tiny. The World Health says PM 2.5 particles are a much more serious health hazard than PM 10 particles.
Much of the PM in our air from natural sources. They include: dust storms, wildfires, volcanoes, and even sea spray. Wind blown dust actually the most common form of PM in the air followed by salt spray from the oceans.
As time goes on however, people tend to pump more and more particulates into the air. It is becoming saturated in places.
Cars, trucks, factories, power plants, wood stoves and the like produce a lot of particulates. Older vehicles and power plants not fitted with filters are the worst. Cars and trucks both stir up fine dust (PM10 size) and emit PM2.5 exhaust as well...most notably diesel powered cars and trucks.
Air Particulate Pollution and the Environment
Particulates are hard on the environment as well as people. Plant pores get plugged with PM.
Visibility can be reduced by two thirds. Haze: the haze over the Grand Canyon USA is from Los Angeles, CA. In other places, PM contributes to acid rain
What to do?
Check your air quality. If you live in a heavy traffic area or industrial zone, chances are that some nasty air particulate pollutionis close by. Get an air filter for your house, and also be sure to check the aerosols in your house. Cleaning agents and the like can put out some bad chemicals too.
Lobby for change. In areas where the delivery diesel rig rules, electric trucks can do the work with much less air pollution. We would like to see many more EV trucks on the road. Again, on clean air days, get out and walk, ride a bike, ebike, take transit, or drive an EV.