PM2.5, The Invisible Threat That Kills 4.2 Million People A Year

What are we taking into our bodies when we breathe? While the composition of air changes constantly,  it’s mostly made up of varying degrees of nitrogen, oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, and ozone. 

But, that’s not all you’re breathing in. No matter where in the world you live, every day you are taking particulate matter (PM) into your body. What exactly is PM and how dangerous are they?

What is Particulate Matter?

Particulate matter are a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope. 

PM are usually classified as particulate matter, fine particles, or ultrafine particles. 

PM 10 (particulate matter) are inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller. 

PM2.5, also known as fine particles, are those that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. PM2.5 are about 30 times smaller than a human hair. 

Ultrafine Particles (UFP) are particulate matter that are less than .1 microns in diameter. 

Exposure to any particulate matter can cause health issues, but fine and ultrafine particles are the most dangerous. 

What is Particulate Matter composed of?

It depends on where you live. Each location has its own mix of contributors depending on geography and human activity. But, no matter where you’re located, air pollutants come from two sources: nature and human activity

  • Natural sources include: windblown dust, dirt and sand, volcanic smoke, and burning materials.
  • Man-Made sources include: various forms of combustion, such as from gas-powered transportation, industrial businesses, biomass burning (the burning of plant matter or coal for heating, cooking, and energy), and farming.

How dangerous are Particulate Matter?

One recent study called PM 2.5 “the largest environmental risk factor worldwide,” responsible for many more deaths than alcohol use, physical inactivity or high sodium intake. In fact, 4.2 million people die every year from breathing in large amounts of fine and ultrafine particulate matter. 

Another study showed that air pollution reduces global life expectancy by more than a year.

But, why? What is it that makes these invisible particles so deadly?

The answer lies in their size. Because PM2.5 and ultrafine particle matter are so small, they are easily inhaled and are able to penetrate deep into your respiratory system. 

Short-term issues from PM exposure include eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath. Long term exposure to PM2.5 can cause permanent respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and heart disease. PM2.5 particles also elevate the likelihood of premature birth and infant mortality.

What makes the danger of particulate matter even more difficult to assess is that it’s rarely the direct cause of death. Rather, air pollution is the world’s 4th leading contributing cause of early death, accounting for:

  • 29% of all deaths and disease from lung cancer
  • 17% of all deaths and disease from acute lower respiratory infection
  • 24% of all deaths from stroke
  • 25% of all deaths and disease from coronary heart disease
  • 43% of all deaths and disease from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Who is most vulnerable to the ill effects of Particulate Matter?

Older adults with chronic heart or lung disease, people with asthma or other respiratory illness, and children are the groups most likely to experience adverse health effects from exposure to particulate matter. 

Children and infants are particularly susceptible because they inhale more air per pound of body weight than do adults – they breathe faster, spend more time outdoors and have smaller body sizes. 

In fact, California’s Children’s Health Study found that children living in communities with high levels of PM2.5 had slower lung growth and smaller lungs at age 18 compared to children who lived in communities with low PM2.5 levels.

Can we avoid Particulate Matter by staying indoors?

Unfortunately, indoor air is usually two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. That’s because human activity generates a whole lot of Particulate Matter. Every time you cook, burn wood, candles or incense you are releasing large amounts of particulate matter into the air. Particles also can form indoors from complex reactions of gases emitted from things like household cleaning products and air fresheners.

Human activity and products, combined with the lack of ventilation, produces and retains large concentrations of particulate matter. 

But particular matter is not just generated indoors. No matter how tightly sealed your home is, particles can still enter indoor spaces through doors, windows, and “leakiness” in building structures.

How can we stay safe from Particulate Matter?

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid breathing in particulate matter.  But you can lessen your exposure.

To minimize your exposure to PM outdoors:

  • Check your air quality before going out.
  • Go outside in the mornings, when ozone levels are lower.
  • Walk away from traffic.
  • Stay near trees or shorelines.

To minimize your exposure to PM indoors:

  • Ensure that gas stoves are well ventilated.
  • Reduce the use of harsh cleaners and scented products.
  • Keep windows and doors open as much as possible.
  • Purchase a high-quality air purifier with a True HEPA filter.

Why do HEPA filters make such a big difference?

Although the standard for HEPA filters is that they need to be able to filter out 99.95% or more of all particles which are 0.3 microns in diameter, they are actually capable of filtering out particles of almost any size. A True HEPA filter can trap dust, smoke, pet allergens, and, most importantly, PM2.5.

That means that, if you have an air purifier with a True HEPA filter, you can be assured that particulate matter of all sizes will be filtered out of your home, improving your health and increasing your life expectancy.

What Are The Biggest Health Risks From Air Pollution?
For decades, scientists have been warning us about the serious...
Which Kind Of Purifier Is Best For People With Asthma?
Over 25 million Americans suffer from asthma. While there is...
Sleep Habits Across America: A Survey
Beauty rest, catching some Z’s, 40 winks, or shut-eye—whatever you...
aeris air purifier in office setting
Affirm + aeris by iRobot

As low as 0% APR Financing with Affirm

As an example, a $1,000 purchase might cost $333.34/mo over 3 months at 0% APR.
Quick and easy
Enter a few pieces of information for a real-time decision
No hidden fees
Know up front exactly what you'll owe, with no hidden costs and no surprises.
Just select Affirm at checkout

Your rate will be 0% APR or 10–30% APR based on credit, and is subject to an eligibility check. For example, a $1000 purchase might cost $90.36/mo over 12 months at 15% APR.  Payment options through Affirm are provided by these lending partners: affirm.com/lenders. Options depend on your purchase amount, and a down payment may be required.

en_USEnglish

How Tax is calculated

The amount of tax charged on your order depends on many factors including the following:

 

  • The identity of the seller
  • The type of item or service purchased
  • The time and location of fulfillment

 

The shipment or delivery address of your order
These factors can change between the time you place an order and when your shipment is complete. As a result, the tax calculated on your order may change. We display an “Estimated Tax” to be collected at Check Out when confirming an order. The amounts displayed as estimated tax may then be updated later when your order is finalized and completed.

 

The tax rate applied to your order will be the combined state and local rates of the address where your order is delivered to or fulfilled from. For example, if you live in a state that does not impose a sales tax, you may still see tax calculated on your order if shipped to another state. Moreover, the tax rates applied to your order may also be different for a variety of reasons, such as a shipment to a residential home versus a business address. Also, the total selling price of an item will generally include item-level shipping and handling charges, item level discounts, and gift wrapping charges. If applied at an order level, these charges, may be allocated to the individual items in an order.

 

If you are ordering from aeris and shipping to a country outside of the US, you may be charged the applicable country tax rate.

 
Contact customer support:
 
Chat