The impact of particulate matter on health

Particulate matter, especially PM2.5, is a major threat to human health and life. World Health Organization (WHO) reports indicate that prolonged exposure to dust pollution leads to shorter life expectancy. Studies have also shown a clear link between exposure to particulate matter pollution and the occurrence of a range of health effects, including:

  • premature death in people with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases
  • heart attack
  • pulse disorder
  • worsening of asthma symptoms
  • weakness of lungs function
  • respiratory tract irritation, cough, respiratory problems

Because of the strong, adverse health effects and high concentrations, particularly in urban areas, particulate matter is ranked first by WHO as a health and life threatening air pollutant, and in case of PM2.5 it is difficult to determine a safe level below which there are no adverse health effects.