WHO Europe: Health risks of particulate matter from long-range transboundary air pollution

Click here or on the pdf file to read the full article or an excerpt below.

Ultrafine particles comprise those with a diameter <0.1 μm. The most important chemical constituents of PM are sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, other inorganic ions (such as Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+ and Cl– ), organic and elemental carbon, crustal material, particle-bound water and heavy metals. The larger particles (with the diameter between 2.5 and 10 μg/m3 , i.e. the coarse fraction of PM10) usually contain crustal materials and fugitive dust from roads and industry. PM in the size between 0.1 μm and 1 μm can stay in the atmosphere for days or weeks and thus can be transported over long distances in the atmosphere (up to thousands of kilometres). The coarse particles are more easily deposited and typically travel less than 10 km from their place of generation. However, dust storms may transport coarse mineral dust for over 1000 km.

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