particulate matter


Indicator: Air quality in agglomerations

A graph shows how strongly, on average, urban background levels of three main air pollutants in German agglomerations exceeded World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations between 2000 and 2021. The trend for the different pollutants varies. Between 2000 and 2021, the values for nitrogen dioxide were between 35.9 and -20,5 percent, for ozone between 71.0 and 46,8 percent and for particulate matter (PM2.5) between 77.3 and -5,7 percent.

The background level of one main air pollutant (ozone) in German agglomerations still exceeds World Health Organisation (WHO) guide line values.Close to sources, pollutant levels can even be significantly higher.The situation regarding nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter has greatly improved since 2000. In 2020, the mean value fell below the WHO recommendation for PM 2.5 for the first time.Ozo... read more

Indicator: Population-weighted particulate matter exposure

A bar chart shows the population-weighted fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) annual mean for Germany from 2010 to 2018. The load decreased significantly from 2010 to 2018. Note: Measuring stations in urban areas with high traffic loads and in the immediate vicinity of industrial plants were not included in the calculation.

Population-weighted particulate matter (PM2.5) levels in Germany were significantly lower in 2020 than in 2010.In 2020, the population-weighted particulate matter exposure was 8.6 micrograms per cubic meter on average for the year. This is 37 % less than in 2010.The decrease in exposure is due to declining emissions from stationary sources (e.g., power plants, industrial operations) and measures t... read more

Indicator: Population exposure to particulate matter pollution

A diagram shows the number of people from 2010 to 2020 in Germany affected by exceeding the 2005 World Health Organization (WHO) guideline value for particulate matter (PM2.5). The exposure decreased significantly in the period shown.

The exposure of the population to particulate matter (excluding traffic-related measuring points) was significantly lower in 2020 than in 2010.Particulate matter concentrations in ambient air are considerably affected by weather conditions which may vary substantially within the year and from one year to another.The German Environment Agency (UBA) proposes a target of keeping the exposure of the e... read more


Cadmium in particulate matter

Schornsteine vor blauem Himmel

Cadmium is toxic and cancerogenic. It belongs to the heavy metals and usually occurs bound to other substances. In ambient air arsenic is measured bound to particulate matter. read more


Arsenic in particulate matter

A smoking chimney

Arsenic is toxic and can have metallic or non-metallic characteristics. It rarely occurs elementary but most of the time bound to other substances. In ambient air arsenic is measured bound to particulate matter. read more


Heavy Metals in Particulate Matter (PM10)

Heavy metals in ambient air rarely occur elementary but most of the time bound to particulate matter. By inhalation health risks arise because some pollutants like arsenic, cadmium and nickel are classified to be cancerogenic.The European directive 2004/107/EC regulates the measurement and assessment of arsenic, cadmium and nickel in particulate matter (PM10). Lead in particulate matter... read more

The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment