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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

Particulate Matter

Particulate matter (PM) Hairis a mixture of microscopic solids (dust, allergens, organic chemicals, metals, etc.) and liquid droplets suspended in the air.  PM is often the main component of haze, smoke and airborne dust. 


PM pollution is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on size.  PM between 2.5 and 10 microns in size (PM10) is considered “coarse” particles whereas PM 2.5 (PM 2.5) microns and lower is considered “fine” particles.  The picture on this page demonstrates how small PM is in comparison to a human hair.


Because of its small size particulate matter can be potentially dangerous because particle pollution can be inhaled deep into the lungs and in some cases absorbed in the blood stream. 


Those at Risk to PM Exposure:

  • Individuals with heart or lung disease,
  • Older Adults,
  • Young Children,
  • Those who exercise or work outdoors, 

Protect Yourself from PM Exposure:

  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities on bad air quality days,
  • Plan outdoor activities on days when particle pollution is low,
  • Don’t exercise or work near busy roads where particle pollution levels are higher
  • Implement measures to reduce indoor particle pollution
  • Avoid outdoor burning. 

For more information contact Synithia Williams at 803-785-8634 or at