Particulate matter emissions
"Particulate matter" (PM10) refers to particles less than 10 micrometres in diameter. PM10 is a physico-chemically complex composite. It is formed in industrial and commercial production processes, combustion processes, mechanical processes (abrasion, whirling-up) and through secondary formation (from sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds). PM10 is very diverse in terms of composition and may contain heavy metals, sulphate, nitrate, ammonium, organic carbon, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or dioxins/furans. PM10 causes disorders of the respiratory tract and cardiovascular system and increases the cancer risk and mortality rate.
Emissions of particulate matter have been steadily declining since 1990, but the current levels of PM10 are still causing respiratory tract and cardiovascular disorders and increased rates of mortality. Further measures to reduce PM10 emissions (e.g. applying the "best available technology" standard to vehicles, industrial and agricultural equipment, and heat generators) are therefore necessary.
Emissions are determined by multiplying the annual human activity rates by pollutant-specific emission factors. Data are gathered by means of surveys, modelling and calculations.