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Glossary 

This glossary provides definitions of common terms used in the context of air pollution.

You can navigate quickly to a term using the alphabetic links below; clicking on the terms will show their definition.



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  • PAHs
  • Particulate matter (PM)
    Airborne PM includes a wide range of particle sizes and different chemical constituents. It consists of both primary components, which are emitted directly into the atmosphere, and secondary components, which are formed within the atmosphere as a result of chemical reactions. Of greatest concern to public health are the particles small enough to be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lung. Air Quality Objectives are in place for the protection of human health for PM10 and PM2.5 – particles of less than 10 and 2.5 micrometres in diameter, respectively.
  • Parts per billion, ppb
  • Parts per million, ppm
  • Percentile
  • POPs

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Page last modified: 14 February 2011