Why is PM10 harmful?

In modern times the word PM10 has gained so much attention. Everyday we come across this word; the PM10. but what basically is PM10, why has it become so important to know the PM10 levels in the ambient air? 

How does it affect our health?

So in this article we will try to explain everything regarding the PM10.  We will see how PM10 affects us, what are the sources that generate PM10, its health impacts , and finally what measures we can take to monitor the PM10 levels at our homes. So read this article till the end to know. 

Why are PM10 harmful? 

PM10 particles are so minute in size that they can be inhaled into the lungs easily and get deposited throughout the airways. These deposited particles can lead to several health problems like; asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it can even induce tissue damage and lung inflammation which results in frequent emergency hospital visits. 

What are PM10 particles and what are its sources ? 

Definition of PM10 particles: The airborne particulate matter (PM) is a complex mixture of several chemical species. It varies greatly in size, shape and chemical composition. The particles are categorised on the basis of their diameter for air quality regulatory purposes. The particles having a diameter of 10 microns or less are defined as PM10 particles.  

Sources of PM10 particles: 

Some common sources of PM10 includes:

  • Gasoline combustion
  • Oil
  • Diesel fuel
  • Wood burning 
  • Dust from construction sites
  • Landfills
  • Agriculture
  • Wildfires
  • Waste burning
  • Industrial emissions
  • Pollen and bacteria fragments etc 

What are the health and environmental effects of PM 10 particles?

Health effects:

Due to their small size the PM10 particles can be inhaled easily. These minute particles get deposited on the surfaces of the larger airways of the upper region of the lungs. 

There are a number of health impacts caused by the PM10 particles such as; 

Short term exposure to PM10 can cause

  • Asthma
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
  • Can induce tissue damage 
  • Lung inflammation

 Which altogether can result in frequent emergency hospital visits. 

Long term exposure to PM10 can cause:

  • Long term effects are not much known yet. However several studies relate long term PM10 exposure with respiratory mortality. 

One of the studies published by the International Agency for Research  on Cancer (IARC) concluded that PM10 present in the ambient air causes lung cancer.

The research also says that elderly people with existing heart or lung disease, children and asthma patients are at higher risk to the exposure of PM10 particles.

Effect on the environment :

There are several ways through which the particulates affect the environment:

Reduces visibility

Promote climate change 

Deposition on plants, soil and water and affects the quality 


Does particulate matter affect indoor air quality?

Yes, particulates can affect the indoor air quality. The particulates from the outdoors can infiltrate through your house.

The particles may also have an  indoor origin; which include allergens, such as; pollens, mold spores, dust, tobacco smoke, cooking, wood burning, aerosols derived from cleaning agents and chemicals etc. 


What are the ambient air quality standards?

Ambient air quality standards are defined as the maximum amount of pollutants that can be present in the ambient air that does not pose any health hazard. According to the Environment Protection Agency United States, the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for 24 hour average concentration of PM10 is 150 micrograms per metric cubes (150 µg/m3).


How can you protect yourself from these harmful pollutants?

There are some measures you can adopt to reduce your exposure to these harmful pollutants :

Monitor air pollution levels

You can keep a check on the air quality index of your area to get insight about the pollution levels. There are certain websites designed for this purpose such as the Environmental Protection Agency. These sites can be accessed anytime of the day.

You can also get information from local radio, television, and newspapers. You can even contact local hospitals etc and can plan your outdoor schedule accordingly. 

Avoid outdoor exposure at peak hours

Avoid going outdoors during the peak hours of pollution. Air pollution levels are highest in the afternoon, so try not to go outside at that time. Doing so can increase the chance of getting exposed to high levels of pollution. 

Avoid high-pollution areas

Pollution levels are the highest near the roadways especially within 1/4 mile of a road. You should avoid visiting highly congested urban areas and smoking areas as much as possible; especially if you have preexisting health conditions. 

We discussed how we can limit our contact with outdoor pollution. But what can be done to maintain healthy indoor air quality?

Install air purifiers

So below are the links to some of the best HEPA filter air purifiers that will help you to maintain a healthy indoor air quality: 

Air purifier : Westinghouse 1701 HEPA Air Purifier 

  • Features : Westinghouse air purifier uses the patented NCCO technology (Nano Confined Catalytic Oxidation) which kills the harmful pollutants by the action of active oxygen. The harmful pollutants are decomposed into harmless compounds such as carbon dioxide and water molecules
  • The filter offers a removal efficiency of 99.97% against harmful viruses and bacteria and also removes 99.72% of particulate matter including PM 10 particles. 
  • This air purifier offers a four stage purification process; namely the Pre-filter, Oxygen Generator, True HEPA filter, and the NCCO Reactor.
  • Westinghouse air purifier is a medical grade true HEPA filter with removal efficiency of 99.97 against allergens as small as 0.3 microns. 
  • When the filter needs to be replaced the filter indicator provides an alert. 
  • The purifier is suitable for large to medium rooms like bedroom, kitchen, office, etc having an area of about 300 sq ft.

Air purifier : GermGuardian Air Purifier

  • Germ guardian 5 in 1 air purifier is an electrostatic HEPA air filter and offers a removal efficiency of about 99.97% against particles as small as 0.3 microns. 
  • Efficiently removes harmful germs like viruses, odor causing bacteria, mold spores, mildew, and other allergens like;  dust, pet hair, and other large particles; like PM10
  • The efficient UV-C light kills airborne viruses such as influenza, staph and rhinovirus. 
  • The filter also removes the VOC concentration with the help of titanium dioxide. 
  • The activated charcoal filter is effective against cooking odor, tobacco smoke, fumes, pet odor etc. 
  • Offers quiet operation; with the Ultra-quiet sleep mode it operates on low sound levels to get you a good night’s sleep.  
  • GermGuardian Air Purifiers are ideal for medium to large rooms having an area of about 743 sq ft.

Air purifier: Instant Air Purifier

  • Features: Instant air purifiers are proven to kill 99.9% of covid-19 virus, bacteria, mold, and other harmful viruses. 
  • With its Advanced 3-in-1filtration; HEPA-13, Activated Carbon, Antimicrobial coating and plasma ion technology it removes 99.97% of pollutants like particulate matter tobacco smoke, pet dander, certain odors and other impurities. 
  • Its advanced sensors offer a 24×7 air quality monitoring with auto fan speed adjust feature.
  • It filters the air in an area of 126 sq ft 5x per hour 
  • With its whisper quiet night mode it offers lower noise for a sound sleep.
  • The filters last upto 8 month, after that it needs to be replaced.

Air purifier: Shark HE601 Air Purifier 

  • Features: With its high speed  six micro fan speed it offers an even distribution of airflow. 
  • Its Clean Sense IQ monitors  air quality, auto-adjusts power and constantly maintains clean airflow.
  • The filter has an efficiency of 99.98% against particle size upto 0.3 microns; which includes the particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) also. 
  • Highly efficient against dust, dander, allergens, smoke, and household odors like cooking, smoking, cleaning products etc. 
  • Ideal for rooms having a dimension of 1,200 square feet.
  • rooms, offices etc.
  • Purifies an area of upto 215 sq.ft within an hour 
  • Operates at noise levels as low as 23dB.
  • Comes with an  advanced noise-reducing and double ball-bearing fan blade to keep noise levels low;  ideal for a peaceful sleep. 
  • Energy efficient and cost effective; comes with an affordable replacement filter and costs only $7.5 for 8 hours of usage. 

Air purifier:  Elechomes EPI081 Air Purifier

  • Features: Comes with a 4-in-1 purification system namely; The pre-filter, ATP-HEPA protective filter, activated carbon filter, and clean-room grade H13 true HEPA filter.
  • ideal  for bedrooms, living rooms, offices etc.
  • Highly efficient against particulate matter and other pollutants like dust, pet dander, odor etc.
  • Purifies an area of upto 215 sq.ft within an hour 
  • Operates at noise levels as low as 23dB.
  • Comes with an  advanced noise-reducing and double ball-bearing fan blade to keep noise levels low;  ideal for a peaceful sleep. 
  • Energy efficient and cost effective; comes with an affordable replacement filter 
  • And costs only $7.5 for 8 hours of usage. 

Air purifier: Miko Air Purifier

  • Features: Miko air purifier comes with several interesting features  like multiple fan speeds, built-in timer, maximum surface area for air flow, all around suction, replacement filter indicator and essential oil port. 
  • The filter is made of H13 medical grade filter, a preliminary filter, and anti-bacterial filter for super clean filtration and performance.
  • Large filtration components that offers all rounded purification
  • Miko air purifiers are effective against allergies, particulate matter, dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, bacteria, viruses, germs, fungi, mold etc. 
  • The Oscillating Intake process removes all particles in a tornado motion and  helps maximize efficiency.
  • Comes with an airtight insulation. 
  • Erosion protectant  ensures safety and durability.

Air purifier: Medify MA-40 Air Purifier

  • Features: Efficient against 99.9% particles of size 0.3-0.1  microns, which includes; particulate matter, odors, smoke, pet dander, dust etc. 
  • Ideal for large spaces like; homes, apartments, bedrooms, living rooms, offices, schools, universities, classrooms, hospitals, restaurants, and other businesses.
  • Comes with 3 fan speed options and runs at 110 Volts.
  • Produces a sound of 46 dB- 66dB.
  • Comes with an option of child lock, which is great for pets and kids. 
  • The life of the filter is almost 3,000 hours which lasts for about 6 months.

Installing HVAC systems

The HVAC system works efficiently towards filtering airborne contaminants and also helps in continuous circulation of air.

Given below are the links of few HVAC systems that will keep your house clean and safe:

HVAC System:  Honeywell F300E1019 Electronic Air Cleaner

  • Features: This can be operated with gas, oil and AC systems. 
  • Efficiency for capturing particles is upto 98%.
  • Has a very low pressure drop

HVAC System: DAIKIN Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System

  • Features: Daikin’s ductless technology offers  greater  energy efficiency; cools and warms up the room fast.
  • Smart inverter technology with integrated inverted variable speed compressor
  • Provides continuous heating and cooling with minimum temperature fluctuations.
  • Quiet operation; with indoor sound levels as low as 37 decibels. 

Other FAQs about Air Quality that you may be interested in.

What does poor air quality mean according to Accuweather?

What does orange mean on the AQI scale?

What does AQI stand for?


So in this article we tried to explain everything regarding the PM10.  We saw how PM10 affects us, what are the sources that generate PM10, its health impacts , and finally what measures we can take to monitor the PM10 levels at our homes. 




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