Particulate matter (PM10)

PM10, Stoft, < 10my


Particulate matter (PM10)

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Molecular formula


 PM10 is particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter equal to, or less, than 10 µm.1 The particle fraction PM10 includes both coarse particles (between 2.5 and 10 µm) and fine particles (smaller than 2.5 µm). Particulate matter consists of a complex mix of particles consisting of organic and inorganic substances that are suspended in the air. The primary components of PM10 are sulphate, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, soot, mineral dust and water.2


Particles do not have any specific applications but are formed as pollutants as a result of both natural and anthropogenic activity.

Sources and transportation pathways

Primary particles are directly emitted to the atmosphere, whereas secondary particles are formed in the atmosphere through reaction with other substances, such as sulphate and nitrate.
3 In most urban environments, both coarse and fine particles are present, but the proportion between these particle sizes are likely to vary between cities worldwide depending on local topography, meteorology and specific emission sources.4

PM10 is emitted to the atmosphere both from natural and anthropogenic sources. Natural sources include sea salt, sand storms, fires, pollen and volcanic ash.5, 6 PM10 emissions from anthropogenic sources arise during different types of combustion processes and during mechanic wear. The largest anthropogenic sources in Sweden are, in decreasing order, the transport sector (mainly from the wear of tyres, roads and brakes), the industry (with the pulp and paper industry and printing as the dominating sources), and space heating of residential buildings (primarily from biomass and wood burning).7

on environment and health

Fine particles can travel far distances before deposited. Their effect on the environment vary depending on the particle composition. Particles containing sulphur may for example contribute to acidification whereas particles containing nitrogen may contribute to eutrophication.
8, 9

Coarse particles can travel to the lungs whereas fine particles can pass the lung barrier and end up in the blood. Chronic exposure to particles increases the risk of developing heart and respiratory illnesses, as well as lung cancer. The entire population is affected, but depending on health or age, people are susceptible to different degrees.10

International agreements and regulations

10 is regulated by the UN Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC). The UN Protocol on PRTRs and the EU E-PRTR regulation regulate how data on
PM10 emissions is made available.