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Particulate Matter Citizen Information Network

By Community Mapping Center

Dangers of Particulate Matter

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a small exposure of particulate matter may not have a serious impact on a healthy person. However, to a person with heart disease, a small dosage can lead to cardiac arrest and heart arrhythmia; a large dosage can worsen the disease with asthma and acute bronchitis. Living in a location with high levels of particulate matter for an extended period of time can restrict the function of the lungs and can cause death at an early age.

The size of the particulate matter is directly related to its size. PM2.5 has the biggest health impact. It can infiltrate the lungs and become embedded in the bloodstream. According to 7-year research (2000-2007), if PM2.5 was reduced, the average life expectancy increased. In addition, the American Cancer Society has tracked 12 million adults for 26 years (1982-2008) and found out that the increase in PM2.5 correlated with an increase of death rate of 15-27%. PM2.5 has also affected the birthing process. The exposure of PM2.5 has shown that it may result in preterm birth, the birth of an underweight child, or even stillbirth. The larger particles (PM10-2.5) can affect the eyes, the nose, and the throat, but it has been shown in research that it is less harmful than PM2.5