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Guide Monitoring for Fine Particulate Matter

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Ultra-fine dust can enter our bloodstream via the lungs and thus reach all organs. Guess what the biggest fine particulate matter emitter is in road traffic. A little hint: It is not diesel exhaust fumes! By the way, the nitrogen oxides are not to blame for this either, because they are not particulate matter per se. Nitrogen oxide is a collective term for various gaseous compounds made up of the atoms nitrogen N and oxygen O. Nitrogen oxides are thus so-called precursor substances of particulate matter, and thus also indirectly responsible for particulate matter pollution.

Air Quality – Peak ambient fine particulate matter concentrations at monitoring stations, Canada

Back to the particulate matter sources in traffic. These are PM10 particulate matter. In Germany, fine particulate limit values of a maximum of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air exist in cities. This average value may be exceeded on a maximum of 35 days a year, after which driving bans are imposed on certain vehicle categories.

You've read right, "for certain vehicle categories. An honest approach to the subject of particulate matter is different. Conclusion: Based on these measured values, it doesn't help much to exchange the diesel engine for an electric car. In agriculture, the gaseous nitrogen compound ammonia NH3 is the main cause of particulate matter.

Ammonia is produced during the processing of liquid manure and fertilizer and is a so-called precursor gas.

Environmental Monitoring – Why We Finally Have to Face Particulate Matter Honestly

Ammonia reacts in the atmosphere with other gases to form particles with health effects and is thus a so-called secondary fine particulate matter of category PM2. A small excursus on the subject of "global warming" vs. During the digestive process a cow emits methane among other substances. Methane, or CH4, is a so-called greenhouse gas, and oxidizes in the atmosphere to carbon monoxide and finally to carbon dioxide.


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Due to its high global warming potential, it contributes significantly to global warming. However, it has nothing to do with fine dust pollution. Several studies have now been conducted on the mortality rate in connection with particulate matter pollution. There is no doubt that humans die as a secondary factor due to exposure to particulate matter. In this context, I deliberately do not wish to give an assessment of existing studies.

In fact, epidemiological studies showed that fine dust pollution is a mortality factor involved in approximately 8. By the way, depending on the parameters specified to define the mortality rate, the interpretation of the underlying measured values can vary a lot. Air pollution doesn't shorten everyone's lives. This means that an overall decrease in average life expectancy is an average value. The particulate matter pollution will only affect the mortality rate of those who are exposed to the substances in their daily lives.

A life on a mountain hut is therefore preferable to a life in a big city in terms of particulate matter pollution.


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Before we take a closer look at how fine dust is measured in the air, I'll tell you a few things about fine dust at your workplace. In the workplace, a distinction is made between the typical office building and production facilities. Think of the dust pollution in a carpenter's workshop or of companies in which grinding machines are installed.

Data Reports

In the office, a particulate matter limit value of a maximum of 60 micrograms per cubic meter of air applies in Germany. Remember that the limit outside is 50 micrograms. Carpenters, grinders and production workers should now make sure that they are in their seats and only then read on. The fine dust limit in production plants is no less than 10 milligrams. Yes, 1 milligram is 1, micrograms. So we are talking about times the outdoor air limit!

What is an Air Zone?

Even modern filter systems in production plants have only a filter capacity of approx. This is still 40 times the outdoor air limit. Now that you know the theory and have briefly learned the most important terms and measurements relating to fine dust, I will show you how it is measured in practice. You will see that the current methods for measuring particulate matter offer room for improvement. The standardized measurement of fine dust serves to ensure compliance with air pollution control regulations.

A distinction is made between the measurement at the point of origin of the air pollution emission and the measurement at its place of impact immission. In practice, various types of sensors are available for measuring particulate matter.

PM2.5 Air Quality/Dust Sensor & Arduino Interfacing tutorial - SDS011/PMS5003

To obtain comprehensible measurement results, you must know that it makes a difference whether you want to measure particulate matter indoors or outdoors. For outdoor measurements, humidity is a variable component that is not taken into account when indoor sensors are used. Such sensors can also be used outdoors, but only if the humidity is measured with an additional sensor that compensates for the measurement results.

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Under a Creative Commons license. Abstract Exposure to ambient fine particulate matter PM 2.

Keywords Fine particulate matter. Recommended articles Citing articles 0.