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Fine Particles

Fine Particulate on Teflon filters

fine particulate on teflon filters
D.Hershey
Photomicrograph of fine particulate
D.Hershey

The US EPA has promulgated additional National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter with diameters of 2.5 micrometers or less (PM2.5). The mass based concentration standards are set at 15 µg/m3 for annual arithmetic mean; and 65 µg/m3 for 24-hour average, respectively. Health officials have determined that fine particles in this size range are of primary concern because they easily reach the deepest recesses of the lungs.

Fine particle health problems may include:

  • Premature death
  • Respiratory related hospital admissions
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Acute respiratory symptoms, including coughing and painful breathing
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Decreased lung function
  • Work and school absences

Fine particles can dramatically reduce visibility and cause soiling and damage to some materials.

New York State has been operating a statewide PM2.5 monitoring network since 1999. There are between 25 to 30 monitoring sites using the Teflon filter based 24-hour samplers for NAAQS attainment determination. In addition, there are realtime instruments at 25 sites providing hourly PM data for temporal and spatial profiling of these extremely fine and potentially dangerous particles.


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