Pollutant Information: PM10 (Particulate Matter < 10µm)
About PM10 (Particulate Matter < 10µm)
Category: Particulate Matter
The physical and chemical composition, source and particle size of airborne particulate matter varies widely. Particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 micrometres (µm) is referred to as PM10. Historically, interest in particulate matter focused mainly on smoke which can cause health problems especially in combination with other pollutants. However, recent epidemiological evidence has also linked concentrations of particles in the atmosphere with human health effects. The PM10 standard was designed to identify those particles likely to be inhaled by humans, and PM10 has become a generally accepted measure of particulate material in the atmosphere in the UK and in Europe. In the 1970s emissions were dominated by combustion from stationary sources and domestic coal combustion has traditionally been the major source of particulate emissions in the UK. More recently other sources such as road transport have become more important; all road transport modes emit PM10, but diesel vehicles emit a greater mass of particulates per vehicle kilometre, and the proportion of road transport activity by diesel-engined vehicles has increased over time. Industrial processes, including bulk handling, construction, mining and quarrying, also account for a large share of emissions. Overall UK emissions of PM10 have decreased by 50% since 1990, and 73% since 1970. This is primarily a result of reductions in emissions in the domestic and commercial sectors, which have fallen from 219 ktonnes (40% of the total emission) in 1970 to 42 ktonnes (28%) in 2014, as the use of solid fuels has declined in favour of more use of gas and electricity.
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