Particle pollution is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets. EPA Victoria monitors the air for two categories of particle size: PM2.5 and PM10. These particles are very small and are measured in micrometres (µm).
PM2.5 particles are smaller than 2.5 micrometres (0.0025 mm) in diameter, they are up to 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The PM2.5 data is reported as a mass per volume of air – micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3).
PM2.5 particles are small enough to be breathed deep into the lungs. This can cause health effects. Children, people over 65, pregnant women and people with existing heart or lung conditions (including asthma) are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in particles.
What's the sources of PM2.5 particles? They result from the burning of fossil fuels (such as coal), organic matter (including wood and grass) and most other materials, such as rubber and plastic. Motor vehicles, power plant emissions and bushfires are all major sources of fine particles.
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