Piercing the Haze: Unveiling the Hidden Perils of Particulate Matter

- PM2.5, PM10, and PM1: The Big Issues of Tiny Particles

Air pollution remains one of the major environmental challenges globally, with increasing concern over its impact on human health. Particulate Matter (PM) in air pollution is a key indicator of air quality assessments. Particulates are primarily classified into PM10, PM2.5, and PM1, based on their diameter sizes. PM2.5 and PM1, due to their minuscule size, can penetrate deep into the human respiratory system, posing significant health risks.

PM10 (Inhalable Particles)

PM10 refers to particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers (μm) or less. These particles can enter the upper respiratory tract of the human body. Major sources of PM10 include road dust, construction sites, agricultural activities generating dust, and industrial emissions. Particles in PM10 can carry a variety of harmful substances, such as heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, posing threats to human health.

PM2.5 (Fine Particulate Matter)

PM2.5 denotes particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. These smaller particles can penetrate the alveoli and enter the human circulatory system. The sources of PM2.5 are more diverse, including vehicle emissions, combustion of coal and oil products, wildfires, industrial emissions, and some natural sources like volcanic ash. PM2.5 contains not only solid particles but also liquid organic compounds and heavy metals, which have especially severe impacts on cardiovascular and respiratory health.

PM1 (Ultrafine Particles)

PM1 refers to particles with a diameter of 1 micrometer or less. The size of these particles allows them to enter the bloodstream and reach various parts of the body, including the brain. The composition of PM1 is complex, and its sources are similar to those of PM2.5. However, due to their smaller diameter, the health impacts of PM1 are even more severe, and the long-term effects on human health are still being studied.

Sources and Composition

The composition of particulate matter is extremely complex, including organic materials, inorganic salts (such as sulfates, nitrates), black carbon, metal elements, and more. The sources can be broadly divided into anthropogenic (human-made) and natural sources. Anthropogenic sources mainly come from combustion processes, such as industrial production, vehicle exhaust emissions, and household burning; natural sources include dust storms and forest fires.

The increasing concentration of PM in the atmosphere raises urgent concerns for public health and environmental policy. Understanding the sources, composition, and health impacts of different sizes of particulate matter is crucial for devising effective strategies to combat air pollution and protect public health.

CurieJet® P700 Particle Sensor Module uses laser light with Mie scattering theory to measure PM2.5, PM10 and even PM1.0 particulate matter and dust in the air. It adopts our customized air pump, air chamber and MCU and is the world’s smallest optical laser PM 2.5 sensor with size only 29 x 29 x 4.9 mm. It is the smallest size in the world with only 1/4 volume of other optical laser PM2.5 sensors.