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Is PM2.5 dangerous?

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A recent report from the World Health Organisation revealed that 64% of the assessed 3,000 cities had PM2.5 levels higher than its safety guidelines. Sadly, every city in Africa and the Middle East exceeded the guidelines, as well as 99% of South Asian cities and 89% of East Indian cities.

 

The study goes on to state that air pollution will cause seven million early deaths by 2020, as highlighted by CNN and furthermore by AirVisual.

 

If this sounds worrying, it is, but why is PM10 and more so PM2.5 detrimental to our health?

 

Atmospheric particulate matter (PM), including soot, is emitted during the combustion of solid and liquid fuels, for power generation and in vehicle engines. At a diameter of less than 2.5 micro meters it is referred to as PM2.5, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair. This is far worse than PM10 due to the fact that it can travel further into your lungs.

 

PM takes two forms: Primary emissions (PM2.5 and PM10) and secondary PM pre cursers such as Nitrogen Oxides, Sulphur Dioxides and Ammonia (NOX, SOX and NH3), which can then react (photo-chemically in the atmosphere) while on long range transportation. Many studies will highlight both, but can only effectively impact the primary as the other is produced outside the measured area. This is why we need to gauge both and focus on reducing the production at source, to positively affect human health.

 

Governmental agencies including The European Environmental Agency (EEA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA), while highlighting the impact, are focused on both measuring and minimising the production of these particles for the benefit of our global community.

 

So, how do we create effective change in PM levels?

 

  1. Check your exhaust emissions at idle and when accelerating for black smoke
  2. Follow a Preventative Maintenance schedule to protect engines and its parts from premature wear, which could lead to inefficiencies
  3. Use quality fuels from reputable sources
  4. Where available, a blend of biodiesel will reduce soot/carbon production, plus it is produced from waste oils
  5. Use qualified and effective fuel additives which benefit emissions

 

Zaeto D-ZEL Aid benefits diesel engines by protecting metal surfaces against wear, while reducing harmful gas emissions at combustion (including PM2.5 and PM10) by 30%. This means a reduction in primary PM: Soot; and secondary PM: NOx.

The reduction in NOx, referencing Euro 6 engines, means Diesel Emission Fluid (DEF), otherwise known as Blue or Add Blue, is not required to be the same volume. This is important as DEF is about 23% ammonia (NH3) and while it has a positive reaction to reduce NOx to less harmful gases, an amount of ammonia will vaporise and enter the atmosphere, creating PM2.5 molecules.

Effective change on PM2.5 and PM10 production at source is key for us all.

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