[Particulate Matter - PM2.5, PM10]

Particulate matter are microscopic pollutants that will affect your health at home.

Particulate matter is either biological or non-biological particles in the air that can affect the your health and the health of your family.  Biological particulates in your home include mold, allergens, and bacterial growth while non-biological particulates are usually the result from combustion sources (from appliances to candles) and indoor tobacco smoke.  Typical particulate matter is 30 times smaller than the width of human hair or grains of sand, often times are so small that they must be viewed with a microscope which makes them small enough to enter the body through the lungs.

Particulate matter enters into your body through inhalation and is known to trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. At levels above 35 micrograms per cubic meter, particulate matter can harm normally healthy adults by causing emphysema and diminished lung capacity.  Children, the elderly and pregnant women are more susceptible to the effects of particulate matter.

Particle pollution, measured in microns, in the home are often referred to by their size, including:

  • PM10: inhalable particles with the diameter of 10 microns (micrometers) or smaller
  • PM2.5: fine inhalable particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or smaller

For reference, the width of a single human hair is about 70 microns in diameter, making it about 30 times larger than the finest particulate matter.

Reducing particulate matter your home starts with proper maintenance of your combustion appliances to ensure that they are properly working. Use ventilation hoods when cooking and not allowing people to smoke inside your home are others ways to reduce particulate matter in your home. Some people will employ air filters (either room filters or integrated systems in their AC) can help reduce higher levels of PM in your home. Be careful when using air fresheners, cleaning products, and fragrances that have a pine or citrus scent because they can react with ozone to form particles in the air.