It is common knowledge that particulate matter can have a pernicious impact on our health. A lot of people believe that this is only a problem outdoors and not inside the home. However, this is not correct. In fact, in practice, the annoying baking odors released during cooking, for example, are by no means the only odor problem. For example, it is said to contain particles smaller than 1 µm that contribute to the so-called PM2.5. The latter is also known in practice as particulate matter. What exactly you need to know about this we would like to let you discover in this blog article.
What is the impact of particulate matter on your health?
For the Netherlands, 11,000 people die each year from the effects of air pollution. In four out of five cases, particulate matter is the cause of the premature death. So it is quite safe to say that particulate matter is a not insignificant cause of human suffering. Moreover, it goes without saying that we should not discount the social costs either. If we were to convert the loss of healthy life years into euros’s, the problem of particulate matter in the Netherlands would easily cost between 10 and 15 billion euros. That is quite something to swallow…
Ultrafine and consequently also very dangerous
For particulate matter, it is a catch-all term for everything floating in the air as well as smaller than 10 micrometers. However, a distinction is made here between two different forms. Specifically, these are:
Primary particulate matter;
Secondary particulate matter;
The primary denominator includes direct emissions of particles that are in the air. Secondary particulate matter is created as a result of a chemical reaction of gases in the atmosphere. It is not a correct assumption to state that particulate matter possesses a harmful character by itself. It only becomes a real problem when it is ultrafine, i.e. smaller than 0.1 micrometers. Even when it consists of substances that are harmful to humans, it is obviously a problem.
How exactly does it arise?
There are several things that contribute very significantly to the so-called particulate matter emissions in the Netherlands. These are primarily households (especially when wood burning is involved), but in addition, what about industry as well as agriculture? For other sources, it is necessary to look in the direction of maritime as well as inland navigation. Road traffic and of course the construction industry are also important contributors. Several sources can be considered not insignificant contributors to particulate mixtures. In practice, however, one mixture already has a somewhat more harmful character compared to another mixture.
A major concern for our health
All the information cited on this page has made it clear that particulate matter is a major concern for our health. Fortunately, there are several things that can be undertaken to combat this form of air pollution. These include installing a more efficient, powerful exhaust system in your home.
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