Tiny but deadly, this pollutant is filling your lungs | india | Hindustan Times
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Tiny but deadly, this pollutant is filling your lungs

A new study revealed a pollutant, called particulate matter (PM) 2.5, can cause lung cancer and cardiac ailments and can stay buried inside the body for years. A first of its kind, the study has been carried out to find the causes of air pollution, reports Chetan Chauhan. What is PM 2.5

india Updated: Jun 27, 2010 09:53 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The air in your city may appear clean but its smallest and least visible pollutant is its deadliest.

A new study revealed a pollutant, called particulate matter (PM) 2.5, can cause lung cancer and cardiac ailments and can stay buried inside the body for years.

In an air appropriation source study in six cities including Delhi and Mumbai, India’s pollution watchdog Central Pollution Control Board found PM 2.5, 20- 40 times smaller in size than human hair, has the highest carbon content.

The study also reveals the concentration of PM 2.5 is 300 per cent higher than the national average in Delhi and 50 per cent higher in Mumbai.

“PM 2.5 is very harmful as particles penetrate deep inside and can break the lung’s functioning systems,” said D.V.K. Vijayan of Delhi’s Patel Chest Institute, which is now conducting studies to find the exact impact of nano tubes on one’s body. “International research has shown these carbon particles can trigger respiratory ailments such as chronic asthma and its long exposure can cause lung cancer.”

Even though internationally PM 2.5 is considered a cause of major health problems, in India the research is poor in the absence of adequate monitoring of PM 2.5 levels.

“It (PM 2.5) has been rising rapidly in the last few years because of increase in vehicular emissions,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment.

The CPCB study based on analysis of pollutants found that higher the vehicular emission in a particular area, the more toxic PM 2.5 was.

A first of its kind, the study has been carried out to find the causes of air pollution and will be released next month.