Among the different types of air pollutants, small particulate matter is one of the more dangerous pollutants. Whereas some air pollutants are gaseous or liquid compounds, particulate matter is a mixture of small liquid and solid particles. These particles are metals, acids, chemicals, and dust or dirt. Small particulate matter, also known as fine inhalable particles, are not visible to the naked eye.
Small particulate matter comes from a number of different sources but primarily comes from combustion activities such as cooking inside the home. Keep reading to learn more about how small particulate matter affects indoor air quality.
How Does Small Particulate Matter Affect Indoor Air Quality?
When you see urban cities with a thick haze that has a brownish tint, then you are witnessing particulate matter in the form of smog. Although particulate matter is usually found outdoors, there are several indoor sources of small particulate matter that can negatively affect your indoor air quality.
As particulate matter forms clusters in the air, that is when you will notice discoloration and haziness. Unless your indoor air quality is very poor, your air will look clear rather than hazy as it does with smog or smoke.
There are several activities and sources that release particulate matter that affects indoor air quality. Although particulate matter typically is found outdoors, indoor particulate matter is also produced by combustion activities such as burning wood at the fireplace or cooking. Limiting your use of gas stoves and burning firewood can greatly help reduce the effects of particulate matter on your indoor air quality.
Is Small Particulate Matter Dangerous?
Although small particulate matter is most prevalent in industrial cities, these particles still find ways to enter homes. Considering how these particles are not naturally visible, it is easy to breathe in these particles without noticing. There are certain health risks associated with breathing in small particulate matter, especially for children, older adults, and those with preexisting respiratory or cardiovascular problems.
Compared to large particles, small inhalable particles (PM2.5) pose the greatest risk to your health. These particles are small enough to travel into the lungs and potentially enter the bloodstream, unlike their larger counterparts.
According to the Indoor Hygiene Air Institute, acceptable levels for small particulate matter is 12 μg/m3 or less and anything above 35 μg/m3 within a 24-hour period is considered dangerous.
Some common symptoms of inhaling these small particles include:
- Lung and throat irritation
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Eye irritation
Limit your exposure to small particulate matter and monitor these particles in your home by getting an air quality test. To make this easy, we offer a free air quality test to help you keep small particulate matter and other harmful air pollutants under control.