The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in a news release, announced that it has awarded more than $646,000 to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) to monitor fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5.
Particulate matter is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air and measure 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter.
This complex mixture includes both organic and inorganic particles such as dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. They vary in size, composition, and come from different sources.
Particles in air are either:
- directly emitted; for instance, when fuel is burnt and when dust is carried by wind, or
- indirectly formed, when gaseous pollutants previously emitted to air turn into particulate matter.
The particles are hazardous and can have serious effects on the heart and lungs if they are inhaled.
According to the EPA, the $646,582 grant will help ODEQ conduct ambient air monitoring of PM 2.5 pollution. PM 2.5 can be directly emitted from forest fires, or they can form when gases emitted from power plants, industries, and automobiles react in the air.
If inhaled, these microscopic particles can get deep into the lungs and cause a variety of problems, including premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and other respiratory symptoms.
The EPA stated that climate action can help to reduce forest fires.
Beverley Davy, Readers Bureau, Fellow
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