Learn More: Air Quality


Variable Definition:
PM2.5 Concentration: The average annual concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air, measured in micrograms per cubic meter of air

CalEnviroScreen 3.0
Years Available:
Data collected as an average of 2012 - 2014
Data published in 2017
Geographic Unit:
Census Tract

Why is this Variable Important to Measure?

PM2.5 Concentration
PM2.5, also known as fine particle matter, refers to tiny particles in the air that are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, allowing them to penetrate the lungs. Particle matter can include a mixture of organical chemicals, wood, dust, soot, and metals; and can be released into the air from cars and trucks, factories, and wood burning and fires. Because PM2.5 can penetrate the lungs and bloodstream, it may cause many adverse health effects including lung and heart disease. Children, the elderly, and persons suffering from cardiopulmonary disease, asthma, and chronic illness are the most susceptible to health complications from PM2.5.
The California Air Resources Board measures PM2.5 concentrations in the air from air monitoring stations around the state of California. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a standard of 12 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air (12 µg/m3) as an acceptable average annual concentration.

Faust, John et al. "Update to the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool: CalEnviroScreen 3.0." Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment & California Environmental Protection Agency, January 2017. Link
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