The air we breathe is an essential element of our well-being, yet often, aspects of its overall quality go overlooked. One overlooked issue in homes is fine particulate matter (PM 2.5). PM 2.5 are microscopic particles suspended in the air which pose a significant threat to indoor air quality and, consequently, our health.


PM 2.5 is a complex mixture of solid and/or liquid particles suspended in air. These particles vary in size and can include dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. One of the more concerning aspects of particulate matter is its potential to adversely affect respiratory and cardiovascular health, especially when present in high concentrations. PM 2.5 is so small that it can infiltrate the lungs all the way to their air sacs (alveoli). Once there, particulates can irritate and corrode tissue, damaging the lungs. Particulate matter in the air can exacerbate existing lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, as well as cause heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.


Particulate matter can come from a myriad of sources, including:

  • Cooking: Broiling, frying, grilling, or using gas stoves.
  • Combustion Activities: Smoking tobacco, burning candles, and using fireplaces or fuel burning space heaters.
  • Household Products: Some cleaning products, air fresheners, oil diffusers and aerosol sprays.
  • Pets: As much as we adore our furry friends, both pet dander and hair can become airborne particles.
  • Outdoor Air: vehicle exhaust, wildfire smoke, road dust, pollen, agricultural activities, and factory emissions.
  • Biological Sources: Mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches.



What strategies effectively control/reduce PM 2.5 in the home?

  • Invest in an air purifier: Choose an air purifier with both a HEPA and carbon filter that effectively captures particulates and chemicals from the air.
  • Quit smoking indoors: If you smoke, make the switch to outdoor smoking, or quit altogether.
  • Regular cleaning: Dust, mop, and vacuum regularly.
  • Monitor outdoor air quality: Be mindful of outdoor PM levels and close doors/windows when elevated.
  • Use Cooking Vents: When cooking, especially when frying or grilling, use exhaust fans.

Particulate matter may be invisible, but its impact on our health is tangible. By understanding the sources, and implementing pragmatic measures to reduce its presence, you can create a healthier, more comfortable indoor environment. Take just a few simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to breathing easier in your home.

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