Particulate matter (PM10)

Particulate matter (PM10) comprises the mass of all particles contained in TSP (total suspended particulates) with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 µm.

It can be caused by human activity: Particulate matter can originate from energy supply and industrial processes, metal and steel production as well as the reloading of bulk material or it can be of natural origin, for example as a result of soil erosion. In agglomerations road traffic is the dominant source.

Health risk

Research studies of the World Health Organisation (WHO) have shown increased occurrence of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases at high particulate matter concentrations. Persons with pre-existing disease are especially vulnerable. Studies have shown a measurable reduction in life expectancy with increasing particulate matter concentrations.

Limit values

Since 1 January 2005 limit values for particulate matter (PM10) for protection of human health are put into force. The daily limit value is 50 µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 35 times per calendar year. The permitted annual limit value is 40 µg/m3. Information on ambient concentrations of particulate matter and exceedances must be made available to the public as promptly as possible.