Particle levels can be elevated indoors, especially when outdoor particle levels are high. Certain filters and room air purifiers can help reduce indoor particle levels. Airborne particles, the main ingredient of haze, smoke, and airborne dust, present serious air quality problems. Particle pollution is a mixture of microscopic solids and liquid droplets suspended in air. This pollution, also known as particulate matter, is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, soil or dust particles, and allergens (such as fragments of pollen of mold spores).
Small particles of concern include “fine particles”, which are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less.
Small particles pose the greatest problems
The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems, because they can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream. Exposure to such particles can affect both your lungs and your heart. Small particles of concern include “fine particles” (such as those found in smoke and haze), which are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less.
People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children are considered at greater risk from particles. Particle exposure can lead to a variety of health effects. For example, numerous studies link particle levels to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits — and even to death from heart or lung diseases. Both long-and short-term particle exposures have been linked to health problems.
The exposure to high particle levels may also be associated with low birth weight in infants.
The latest studies suggest other serious affects
In addition, scientists are evaluating new studies that suggest, that exposure to high particle levels may also be associated with low birth weight in infants, pre-term deliveries, and possibly fetal and infant deaths.