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Pollutants

Choose a pollutant from the list below to find out more information about it.

Fine Particles

Source A of the pollutionSource B of the pollution(PM10, PM2.5 and PM1) - Fine Particles are composed of a wide range of materials arising from a variety of sources including:

  • combustion sources (mainly road traffic);
  • secondary particles, mainly sulphate and nitrate formed by chemical reactions in the atmosphere, and often transported from far across Europe;
  • coarse particles, suspended soils and dusts (e.g. from the Sahara), seasalt, biological particles and particles from construction work.

Particles are measured in a number of different size fractions according to their mean aerodynamic diameter. Most monitoring is currently focussed on PM10, but the finer fractions such as PM2.5 and PM1 are becoming of increasing interest in terms of health effects. Fine particles can be carried deep into the lungs where they can cause inflammation and a worsening of the condition of people with heart and lung diseases. In addition, they may carry surface-absorbed carcinogenic compounds into the lungs.