Airborne Particulate Matter: Sources, Atmospheric Processes and Health
Emissions of Primary Particulate Matter
Published:18 Aug 2016
M. Guevara, in Airborne Particulate Matter
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Particulate matter (PM) accounts for a complex group of air pollutants with properties and impacts that vary according to its composition and size. The emission rates, size and composition of primary PM emissions are challenging to determine since they depend not only on the sector considered, but also on the fuel properties, technology and other characteristics of the emission process. At the European level, fine carbonaceous particles are generally the dominant components of primary PM emissions, the most important sources of organic and black carbon being residential biomass combustion and diesel vehicle engines, respectively. On the other hand, soil particles generated by wind erosion processes, traffic resuspension, mining and construction operations, and agricultural land management activities are large contributors to the coarse fraction of primary PM emissions. European PM emissions are decreasing as a result of implemented EU legislation mainly focused on road transport and large point sources. Nevertheless, emissions released by residential solid fuel appliances have been increasing due to a lack of regulations, a tendency that is expected to change with the eco-design directive. The decrease of traffic PM exhaust emissions has also increased the importance of traffic non-exhaust emissions, a major source of metals in urban areas.