What is Particulate Matter?

An explanation of PM and it's the effect on your health


PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair. Solid or liquid particles floating in the air are called particulate matter. Fine particulate matter is an air pollutant.

Sources: smoking, cooking, and cleaning, power plants, motor vehicles, airplanes, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural burning, volcanic eruptions, and dust storms.

Health Effects: premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing.