Emissions by Vehicles

Air has tiny solid particles or fine liquid droplets suspended within it often called particulates. Usual concentrations are invisible but high concentrations can be seen as a haze, a mist or smoke especially when accompanied by condensing water vapour.  The large majority are less than a hundreth of a millimetre across and are known as P M tens (PM10 = particle ten m icrometres = 10µm). The fraction of the PM10’s which are thought to be the most poisonous are less than 2.5 micrometres across and are called PM2.5’s.

Most diesel engines emit the particulate matter PM2.5. 

PM10’s are readily inhalable and because of their small size are not filtered and penetrate deeply into the cardiovascular system where they cause damage. Those smaller than 2.5 um penetrate deeper than those closer to 10um. Mainly because of their physical properties, they have a strong association with most types of respiratory illness and even mortality. They also have a strong association with circulatory (heart disease and strokes) disease and mortality. Particles allow many chemicals harmful to human health to be carried to many of our internal organs causing a wide range of illness and mortality including cancer, especially lung cancer, brain damage and damage to the unborn child.


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