Particulate matter comes from a
number of sources. Generally, any activity which
involves burning of materials or any dust generating
activities are sources of PM. Along with the examples
listed above, PM can come from fireplaces and cars
driving on unpaved roads as well as the smoke from large
matter is present in many different sizes. Large
particles mainly come from the soil and smaller
particles come from the burning of fossil fuels, like
gasoline in cars and the coal used at power plants. The
smaller the particle, the more dangerous, because it can
travel deeper into the lungs. When particulate matter is
breathed in, it can irritate and damage the lungs,
causing breathing problems. People who have asthma or
some type of lung or heart disease are directly impacted
by high levels of PM. The elderly and children are also
especially vulnerable to the effects of PM.
studies have shown links between PM and health effects.
Increases in PM have been linked to decreases in lung
function, increases in breathing problems and
hospitalization, and early death.