A layer of haze blankets a busy city on a hot summer day, reducing the nearby mountains to a blurry outline. A thin string of smoke trails out of a chimney on a cold, calm winter night. Huge clouds of smoke billow from a raging forest fire. What do these images have in common? Tiny particles, called "fine particulates." Soiling the air, spoiling the view and taking our breath away. Literally. Ever since our early ancestors gathered around their first fire, humans have been releasing fine particulates into the air. Only recently have scientists discovered the bad news: fine particulates are so small that they can easily be inhaled into the deepest reaches of our lungs, causing serious lung and heart disease. Fine particulates are also a visual blight, capable of reducing visibility so much that beautiful views are blotted out, and road and air travel is made difficult. Hold on a moment! Human beings have managed to live with fine particulates for thousands of years, haven't they? Why all the fuss now?
BC Ministry of Water Land and Air Protection. 2002. Fine Particulates: What They Are and How They Affect Us. BC Ministry of Water Land and Air Protection
Keywords: fine particulates, air quality
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