CANUE - PM 2.5: What it Is and Why it Matters
In 2021, recognizing the health burden of exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the World Health Organization cut its guideline for annual average exposure in half. Now 86% of Canadians live in areas that exceed the new WHO guideline. Exposure to air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million deaths every year, and exposure to PM2.5 in particular has been linked with premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function and coughing or difficulty breathing.
Understanding what PM2.5 is, where it comes from, how it’s measured and its effect on health can help public health professionals better manage the health risks it presents to everyone, and health researchers better use relevant and meaningful datasets to understand its health effects.