PM10 (Particulate matter less than 10 µm)

The substance
PM10 particles are made up of a complex mixture of many different species including soot (carbon), sulphate particles, metals and inorganic salts such as sea salt. The particles vary in size and shape, up to 10 microns diameter.

PM10s are generally produced as an accidental by-product of various chemical or physical processes. PM10s are not deliberately manufactured, although many industrial processes do use powders and dusts as a normal input into manufacturing and processing operations. Examples include the Cement & Lime and Iron and Steel sectors.

Major emissions
Soot particles are released into the air from combustion processes like coal burning, road transport, waste incineration and other industrial processes. Sulphate particles can arise from combustion of fuel containing sulphur, either directly or by subsequent chemical reactions of sulphur dioxide with other air-borne species. Other types of particulates are created by construction and quarrying and by natural phenomena such as forest fires, volcanoes and dust storms.

Impacts on human health and environment
Excessive exposure to particulates may cause health effects on the respiratory system. Particles can stick to the surfaces of buildings resulting in blackening of the facades. Research is currently underway to elucidate the role particulates play in climate change.

Emission to air reporting threshold: 50000 kg/year

Data source: European Pollutant Emission Register