This chapter provides an introduction to particulate matter by discussing various ways of categorisation, characterisation and their health effects. The natural and anthropogenic sources of atmospheric particulate matter are discussed. The chapter also introduces qualitatively some aerosol concepts, such as their chemical composition and size distribution. Some examples are provided to illustrate how particulate matter, despite being microscopic particles, can manifest themselves in the atmosphere. Finally, the various pathways by which particulate matter impacts the health system are reviewed along with their interactions to understand concept behind the PM-associated health effects.
Part of the book: Environmental Health