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Science Daily: Air pollution: The silent killer called PM 2.5

I’ve long disliked bad air, and my neighbors do a great job making it worse with their leaf blowers and smoky fires. But hey, their driveways looks nice and clean.

I’m not ready to step up and use computer models for deaths from air pollution, but I do believe that bad air has an impact on health that can be quite serious.

And now, millions of people no longer have access to N100 or N95 particulate respirators, with the supply sucked up by COVID. How many people will die down the road because they had to work or exercise without a proper respirator? (Amazon says "Prioritized for organizations on the front lines responding to COVID-19").

“PM 2.5” means particulate matter 2.5 microns or smaller. A micron is one-millionth of a meter. The N100 particulate respirator I favor removes 99.75% of PM 2.5, and the N95 removes 95%. Properly fitted tightly against the face of course. I have used them even while riding a double century, both for pollen and desert dust and highway dust from high-speed traffic.

Air pollution: The silent killer called PM 2.5

March 11 2021

Millions of people die prematurely every year from diseases and cancer caused by air pollution. The first line of defence against this carnage is ambient air quality standards. Yet, according to researchers from McGill University, over half of the world's population lives without the protection of adequate air quality standards.

The researchers focused on air pollution called PM2.5 -- responsible for an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths every year globally. This includes over a million deaths in China, over half a million in India, almost 200,000 in Europe, and over 50,000 in the United States.

"In Canada, about 5,900 people die every year from air pollution, according to estimates from Health Canada. Air pollution kills almost as many Canadians every three years as COVID-19 killed to date," says co-author Parisa Ariya, a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at McGill University.

Small but deadly

Among the different types of air pollution, PM2.5 kills the most people worldwide. It consists of particles smaller than approximately 2.5 microns.

"We adopted unprecedented measures to protect people from COVID-19, yet we don't do enough to avoid the millions of preventable deaths caused by air pollution every year," says Yevgen Nazarenko, a Research Associate at McGill University who conducted the study with Devendra Pal under the supervision of Professor Ariya.


WIND: air quality standards are a joke even in modern areas, as you can see for yourself in the summer in the San Francisco Bay Area once the gardeners start their leaf blowers, and the traffic begins.

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