Overview

Particle pollution is a mixture of solids and liquid droplets suspended in air. Fine particle pollution, or PM2.5, describes particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. (For reference, the diameter of a human hair is 70 micrometers in diameter, or 28 times greater in diameter than fine particle matter.) Very small particles can get deep into the lungs and even cross over into the blood stream, causing heart problems. Health Studies have shown a significant association between exposure to fine particle pollution and serious health issues. Fine particles can aggravate heart and lung diseases and have been linked to effects such as cardiac arrhythmias, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and bronchitis which is why this air pollutant is closely monitored. There are many sources of fine particles, and their chemical composition depends on location, time of year and weather. Particle pollution is a result of burning various fuels, including wood. It also forms in the air when hot gasses cool and condense into solid matter or when certain chemical reactions take place and form small particles.

 

Current Condition or Trend

Fine particle pollution levels have decreased on a statewide basis since the early 1990s. Currently, 100% of the state is meeting both the 2006 24-hour and the 2012 annual fine particle National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

 

Current Condition or Trend

Fine particle pollution standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2006 the 24-hour standard was lowered to better protect human health and in 2012 the annual standard was lowered. Because New Hampshire experiences days where concentrations of 24-hour fine particle levels are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, the 24-hour standard is provided as the indicator for fine particle pollution levels. Fine particle levels have decreased on a statewide basis since the early 1990s when an amendment to the Clean Air Act required state, regional and federal planning to improve air quality. Because New Hampshire is considered a downwind state, much of the gains in improved air quality have come as the result of regional and national coordination, in combination with our own pollution reduction programs.

 

How Does DANDA Address This?

Fine particle pollution standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2006 the 24-hour standard was lowered to better protect human health and in 2012 the annual standard was lowered. Because New Hampshire experiences days where concentrations of 24-hour fine particle levels are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, the 24-hour standard is provided as the indicator for fine particle pollution levels. Fine particle levels have decreased on a statewide basis since the early 1990s when an amendment to the Clean Air Act required state, regional and federal planning to improve air quality. Because New Hampshire is considered a downwind state, much of the gains in improved air quality have come as the result of regional and national coordination, in combination with our own pollution reduction programs.