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Particulate matter consists of tiny particles in the atmosphere that can be solid or liquid (except for water or ice) and is produced by a wide variety of natural and manmade sources.
- Dave Allen
The chemical composition of particles depends on location, time of year, and weather.
The different constituents of PM are the result of very different types of emissions, and therefore, as emission reduction plans are developed to reduce health impacts of fine particulate matter, it will be important to understand whether particular chemical or physical properties of the PM are causing health impacts.
PM10 particles can stay in the air for minutes or hours, while PM2.5 particles can stay in the air for days or weeks.
PM10 particles can travel as little as a hundred yards or as much as 30 miles. PM2.5 particles can go many hundreds of miles.