Particulate Matter

Particulate matter poses a serious threat to human health and the environment. It occurs as a result of natural processes (such as dust storms or volcano eruptions) as well certain human activities – most notably, vehicle usage and the burning of fossil fuels.

As well as being highly carcinogenic, aerosols can change the behaviour of the weather and climate. Countries around the world are now setting limits on the amount particle pollution that can be produced.

Businesses have a responsibility to ensure that air quality standards are met, both in the workplace and the wider environment.   

Real-time particulate monitoring allows users to see instant variations in the air quality. This helps them to make informed decisions relating to workers’ health and safety. It can also be used for outdoor air pollution studies to monitor changes over time and in differing conditions.

The Munro Particle Sense P600 provides continuous, real-time measurements of airborne particulate activity. Using unique light-scattering technology, it monitors particle size distribution (TSP, PM10, PM2.5 and PM1). In workplace mode this can be represented in terms of the three health-relevant particulate mass fractions: inhalable, thoracic and respirable.  

Particle size is a crucial when considering air quality in the context of human health. Put simply, the smaller the particle the greater the health risk, as there is a higher chance of it passing from the throat into the lungs and penetrating beyond the terminal bronchioles. Workers in high-risk industries – such as construction – are by no means the only ones affected by particulate matter. Dust, dirt, soot, smoke, soil, acids and metals are capable of travelling large distances and are easily inhaled. Exposure to such particles can cause heart and respiratory problems and even death.

Continuous monitoring is the safest, most effective way of identifying high-risk areas. Only by doing so can one identify the most appropriate relief mechanism. The Particle Sense P600 is a portable instrument equally suited to long- or short-term pollution studies (both indoors and outdoors). It can be mounted inside a special, weather-proof lamppost box and left unattended in remote locations. Additional sensors can be attached to measure parameters such as wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity and rainfall. The P600 also features two external gas or noise metre inputs.

Real-time data from multiple P600 stations can be monitored using a computer or smart phone. Our dedicated air quality software creates easily analysable graphs and reports, and notifies users of high readings. Alarms can also be configured if required.

The Particle Sense P600 works by means of a nephlometer. Airborne particulates are drawn in through a narrow inlet and passed through a laser beam. The individual particles cause the light to scatter, which is then analysed by a photometer. This is calibrated such that the amount of light it receives is proportional to the size of the particle. Using the photometer readings, the microprocessor is able to calculate the expected mass of the particle, as well as the chances of deposition in the respiratory tract (according to conventions outlined in BS EN 481 and EN 12341).

Once particles have passed through the laser beam, they are caught on a filter which can, if required, be used for gravimetric analysis and/or calibration purposes. The instrument is normally fitted with a TSP inlet, but other inlets are also available for size-selective sampling (PM10, PM5 and PM2.5).