Particulate Matter is all of the solid and liquid particles that are suspended in the air that are hazardous. Particulate matter can be both organic or inorganic particles which include dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid drops.
Where does Fine Particulate Matter come from?
They can be found in a variety of sizes and shapes. They also can be made up of many different types of chemicals. They can be emitted directly from a source such as construction sites, unpaved roads, smokestacks, fires and fields. Most of the particles are formed in the atmosphere as a result of complex reactions of chemicals like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. These are pollutants that are emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles
Thirdhand smoke can be just as bad as second hand smoke. This is because it is not actually smoke. It is residue and tiny particles from cigarette smoke that sticks to clothing, walls, furniture and other household items. It can have very harmful chemicals in it and can hurt young children that are exposed to it. Particulate matter found in thirdhand smoke can cause stuffy nose, eye irritation, asthma and allergic symptoms.
Harmful Effects of Fine Particulate Matter
Due to the fact that particulate matter contains tiny, microscopic solid and liquid droplets, they are so small that they can be inhaled by humans. If the Fine particulate matter is inhaled by humans, it can enter into the lungs or bloodstream. This means that the smallest particulate matter can pose the biggest threat to the health of humans. Fine particles are also the main cause of reduced visibility in parts of the United States. Health problems of fine particulate matter are nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and increased respiratory symptoms such as coughing or difficulty breathing.
If particulate matter causes you to have increased respiratory system symptoms or increased asthma, treatment could include an inhaler or bronchodilators to help regulate your lung functions. If particulate matter causes you to have an irregular heartbeat then you will be prescribed medications to help with the arrhythmia.
Inorganic pollutants associated with particulate matter from an area near a petrochemical plant. In Gela, Italy, there are many on land and offshore oil fields. A case study was held to see how these oil refineries and places of high traffic affected the chemical composition of airborne particulate matter over the town. Samples were taken from pine needles and urban road dusts near the plant. They were analyzed for trace elements. Due to the investigations on the chemical plants, the petrochemical plants appeared to be associated with high levels of elements such as As, Mo, Ni, S, Se, V, and Zn. This shows that the chemical plants are part of the reason that particulate matter get into the atmosphere.
Remedies/ methods of reduction
In order to reduce or eliminate pollution caused by particulate matter you can avoid smoking, limit the use of fireplaces and wood stoves, make sure your appliances meet CSA or EPA emission standards, and switch over to cleaner burning appliances.