Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Environmental Assessment

Monitoring of Particulate Matter Outdoors

Report Information

Recent studies of the size and composition of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) have demonstrated the usefulness of separating atmospheric PM into its fine and coarse components. The need to measure the mass and composition of fine and coarse PM separately has been emphasized by research in exposure, epidemiology, and toxicology of atmospheric PM. This paper provides a background on the size distribution and properties of PM relevant to the differences between fine and coarse particles. Various decisions that must be made when deciding how to separate, collect, and measure PM are discussed. Techniques for monitoring fine and coarse particles, including the US Federal Reference Method for PM2.5 and several techniques for PM10?2.5, are presented. Problems encountered in collecting semivolatile PM and in weighing atmospheric PM collected on a filter are described. Continuous monitoring methods for PM mass and for PM components (carbon, nitrate, and sulfate) are described and brief descriptions are given of analytical techniques for the chemical characterization of collected PM. This information should be especially useful for environmental workers familiar with monitoring methods for total suspended particles or PM10 but who will need to measure PM2.5 and PM10?2.5 in the future.

William E. Wilson
  • by phone at:   919-541-2551
  • by fax at:   919-541-2985
  • by email at:  wilson.william@epa.gov

Citation

Wilson Jr., W E., J. C. Chow, C. S. Claiborn, W. Fusheng, J. Engelbrecht, AND J. G. Watson. Monitoring of Particulate Matter Outdoors. CHEMOSPHERE 49(9):1009-1043, (2002).

Jump to main content.