What is PM2.5?

Breatheclean provides furnace filters to ensure the maximum reduction in PM2.5 in your home. This section describes what PM2.5 is and why it is important to focus on it.

PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) is a widespread air pollutant, consisting of a mixture of solid and liquid particles suspended in the air with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers and under. (see graphic below)

We have come to think of the contaminants in our air as ‘Allergens’ ‘Pet Dander’ ‘Mold Spores’ ‘Bacteria’ ‘Viruses’ ‘Tobacco Smoke’ ‘Pollen’ ‘Dust’ ‘Air Pollution’ or ‘Smog’ along with others. Various of these range in size, for example ‘cat dander’ ranges in size from .1 microns to over 3 microns. Even dust mite allergens range from 0.1 to over 12 microns.

You need to look at the size of each pollutant particle because when it comes to your health particle size matters. Every Furnace Filter has a MERV rating which represents how much of each particle size it can remove. The higher the MERV the more of each is removed.

PM between 0.1 µm and 1 µm in diameter can remain in the atmosphere for days or weeks and thus be subject to long-range transboundary transport in the air.

Pollution matters infographic

How does PM affect my health?

PM2.5 is unique because it is small enough that it penetrates deeply into the lungs directly into the alveoli through which it can enter directly into the blood stream. Once in the blood it contributes to a wide array of negative health effects.

All PM1.0, a subset of PM2.5, that enters the bloodstream directly and has the ability to move deep into the brain where its effects are just beginning to be understood.

There is no evidence of a safe level of exposure or a threshold below which no adverse health effects occur. The exposure is ubiquitous and involuntary, increasing the significance of this determinant of health. World Health Organization: Health Effects of Particulate Matter

Consider that a UV treatment system may kill a biological contaminant, but it does not eliminate the particle, allowing it to still enter your blood and even your brain.

How is PM2.5 measured?

PM2.5 is measured using a specialized instrument. The instrument counts particles using a laser counter which differentiates and tabulates particles by diameter. By controlling air flow precisely in the instrument the total particle count is calculated per liter of air. Then a mathematical algorithm calculates total weight in micrograms per cubic meter of particles under 2.5 micrometers after adjusting for temperature, pressure and humidity.


…and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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What Creates PM2.5?

Sources of fine particles include all types of combustion activities (motor vehicles, power plants, wood burning, etc.) and most industrial processes. Particles with diameters between 2.5 and 10 micrometers are referred to as “coarse.” Sources of coarse particles include crushing or grinding operations, and dust from paved or unpaved roads. Other particles may be formed in the air from the chemical change of gases. They are indirectly formed when gases from burning fuels react with sunlight and water vapor. These can result from fuel combustion in motor vehicles, at power plants, and in other industrial processes.
Natural sources of PM include volcanic eruptions and forest and grass fires.

Where does PM end up?

Particulate Matter is formed atmospherically through chemical reactions majorly from human caused emissions. Once formed it remains airborne until gravity, rainfall or entry into a structure occurs. It then enters soil, oceans, waterways, farmland, animal life, and people. The concentration in any one area depends on the average PM loading in the region. It ultimately enters the entire ecosystem in varying concentrations depending on weather conditions and local PM loading in the region. Effects of PM on the food chain is not well understood.

PM also accumulates inside buildings as it is drawn in by air handlers, open windows, cracks or is generated internally. It eventually settles into furniture, carpets, ductwork and all surfaces to be stirred up and to become airborne again due to human activity.

How to Manage PM2.5 Indoors

Always have stove fan on when cooking

Minimize use of aerosol sprays or use in ventilated/exhausted areas.

Vacuum cleaner should be rated with a HEPA filter

Minimize use of candles or any other combustion device.

The breatheCLEAN Solution.

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