Air pollution is a problem to the health and welfare of people. Some people experience disproportionate levels of air pollution, and this can vary by neighborhood. Particulate matter (PM) is once such air pollutant that is a health concern for everyone.
PM consists of a complex mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air we breathe. Fine particles, called PM2.5, refer to particles in the air that are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter. The widths of these particles are approximately 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Due to the small size, these particles can travel deeply into the respiratory tract and the bloodstream.
Exposure to PM2.5 is known to contribute to a variety of hazardous health effects. Some of these effects include aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, irritation of the respiratory system, nonfatal heart attacks. People with cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, children, and older adults should limit their exposure to particle pollution.
Major sources of PM2.5 include industry, mobile vehicles, wildfires, and construction. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM2.5 in 1997, 2006 and 2012. The 2012 annual average standard is 12 µg/m3 and the short-term 24-hr average standard is 35 µg/m3. In recent years, the District has consistently attained the PM 2.5 NAAQS. PM 2.5 is measured at four monitoring sites in the District: River Terrace, Near Road (near Benning Road and I-295), McMillan Reservoir, and King Greenleaf Recreation Center.
The PM2.5 data presented below is from the King Greenleaf monitor compared to the other three PM2.5 monitoring sites in the District. King Greenleaf data is highlighted here at the request of residents in the community of Buzzard Point. The King Greenleaf monitor started operating in January 2018.
If you have questions or would like further explanations of the data, please contact Dr. Courtney Grimes at [email protected].
The first graph displays 24-hr averaged data, which can be directly compared to the federal NAAQS of 35 µg/m3. Please select the week of data you would like to appear on the graphs.