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Airborne particles: a broad review of issues for the NANOAIR project.

Quincey, P G (2009) Airborne particles: a broad review of issues for the NANOAIR project. NPL Report. AS 43

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Abstract

This review describes the main issues relating to airborne particles, especially in outdoor (ambient) air.

Section 1 outlines the main features of ambient airborne particles, in terms of their size and bulk composition.

Section 2 describes the sources of particles found in the atmosphere. These are diverse and variable, including natural sources (such as mineral dust and sea salt), anthropogenic sources (such as vehicle and industrial emissions), and secondary particles formed from gaseous precursors (such as ammonium nitrate).

Section 3 describes the most common measurement parameters used to characterise airborne particles, such as PM10, PM2.5, number concentration, size distribution, and chemical composition. The limitations and associated measurement uncertainties of these parameters are emphasised. The inconsistency and inappropriateness of many of the measurement techniques can be a significant barrier to implementing effective mitigation measures and to health effects studies.

Section 4 describes the current position regarding the health effects of airborne particles on human health. While there is consensus that the health effects of exposure to ambient particles are substantial, there is little consensus on the specific aspects of the particles that cause the effects, beyond that fine particles (below around 2.5 µm in diameter) have a greater effect than that of coarse particles.

New techniques for characterising airborne particles are likely to have a valuable role in clarifying the nature of particles in the air at any given location and time, the properties of the particles that cause health effects, and consequently the policies that should be followed in order to reduce the health effects of particles on the population.

Item Type: Report/Guide (NPL Report)
NPL Report No.: AS 43
Keywords: Airborne particles, PM10, PM2.5
Subjects: Environmental Measurement
Environmental Measurement > Air Quality and Airborne Particulates
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 13:15
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/4490

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