Associated topic: particulate matter

Emissions monitoring period: since 1990

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017

 

Source of the pollutant

Particulate matter (PM) is made up of very heterogeneous compounds in terms of chemical composition, solid or liquid state and size (characterized in particular by the diameter of the PM).

Particles are distinguished by size:

    • Total Suspended Particles include all particles, of whatever size,
    • PM10 are particles less than 10 µm (10 microns) in diameter,
    • PM2.5 are particles less than 2.5 µm in diameter,
      • Black Carbon emissions are based on a chemical speciation of PM2,5 emissions
    • PM1.0 are particles less than 1 µm in diameter,

Particles which are 2.5 to 10 in diameter are called coarse particles. Particles less than 2.5 in diameter are called fine particles and include ultra-fine particles of less than 0.1 µm (PM0.1).

The diagram below shows particle sizes according to different emission sources.

 

graph particules 1

 Figure : Particle sizes - scale and order of magnitude

Particulate matter emissions are generated from different sources:

    • mechanical: powdering, crushing, cracking, transport of non-cohesive materials, soil erosion (by wind for example), etc. These particles are usually a few microns to a few hundred microns in diameter.
    • chemical or thermal: These particles form when chemical reactions or high-temperature evaporation followed by condensation change the state of the material. These particles range in size from a few nanometres to under 1 .
    • biological: pollen, fungi, bacteria.

Emissions of particulate matter can therefore be from natural sources or from human activities:

    • particulate matter emissions from human activities are closely dependent on dust removal equipment, processes and operating conditions.
    • The main sources of emissions are:
      • ploughing,
      • construction sites, public works and civil engineering,
      • quarrying,
      • combustion of solid mineral fuels, liquid fuels and biomass.
    • The order of importance of emissions from these different sources depends on the size distribution of the particles considered.
    • particulate matter emissions from natural sources are closely related to climate and natural conditions (wind erosion, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, pollen, etc.

The different types of particulate matter may be divided into three categories:

    • primary particulate matter: directly released into the atmosphere by a large number of human and natural sources (see list above).
    • secondary particulate matter: formed by physical and chemical reactions from other pollutants, called precursors.
    • re-suspended particulate matter: after it has been deposited, particulate matter can then return into the air through wind action or road traffic disturbance in urban areas, for example.

Particles differ in their chemical composition depending on origin. They are usually made up of:

    • salts in the form of nitrates, sulphates, carbonates, chlorides, etc.,
    • organic carbon compounds (PAHs, oxides, condensable organic compounds, etc.) (called "organic carbon" and written as OC).
    • trace elements such as heavy metals, etc.,
    • black carbon (BC).

Black carbon is produced by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. It is contained in soot, which is a complex mixture of particles containing BC and OC. OC and BC are emitted together but in different proportions depending on sources and combustion conditions. Soot also contains inorganic salts and metals. Black carbon is a pollutant with global warming potential because it absorbs radiation and also because it is transported over long distances and deposited over ice caps, thus reducing their reflectivity (albedo). Organic carbon, on the other hand, tends to cool the atmosphere.

The particle size is a very important characteristic of particulate matter and determines the reduction techniques that may be used. Large-sized particles can be removed by techniques based on mechanical principles (cyclones, gravity collectors, etc.) but only electro-filters or fabric filters are capable of removing finer particles.

The chemical composition of particles can affect the efficiency of some reduction techniques. For example, the efficiency of an electro-filter depends on the resistivity of the particles, which in turn depends on their chemistry.

 

Effect of the pollutant

From a health point of view, populations have long been aware of pollution by particles for physiological and psychological reasons, and regulations have existed for many years, although it is often less toxic than pollution by many of the gaseous compounds. This is obviously a generalization that will apply depending on the chemical nature of the particles and their size (fine dust < 2.5 µm, asbestos fibres and dust, etc.). The role of particulate matter has been demonstrated in certain disorders of the breathing apparatus, asthma attacks and the rising number of deaths from cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, especially in sensitive categories of the population.

"Larger" particles (> 10 µm), which are visible to the naked eye, are not those of most concern in terms of health. They are trapped in the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat) and do not enter the respiratory system. Particles 2.5 to 10 µ in diameter reach the upper regions of the bronchial tree and may be filtered out by its cilia and dislodged by coughing. The most dangerous are fine particles less than 2.5 µ in diameter. These can penetrate deeply into the respiratory system as far as its terminal structures and are deposited by sedimentation or enter the bloodstream. They can carry toxic, allergenic, mutagenic or carcinogenic compounds, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals.

The 2nd French National Health and Environment Plan (PNSE 2) indicates that according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimations, more than 2 million people die each year from breathing in fine particles contained in indoor and outdoor air. The WHO has found that in 2000, chronic exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) caused about 350 000 premature deaths each year in Europe, including 42 000 in France, which corresponds to an average 8.2-month drop in life expectancy. It has estimated the number of premature deaths worldwide in 2008 that can be attributed to urban air pollution at 1.34 million, and indicates that compliance with WHO guidelines would have saved 1.09 million lives. These results have been confirmed by the European Aphekom programme ("Improving Knowledge and Communication for Decision Making on Air Pollution and Health in Europe"), coordinated by the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS).

From an environmental point of view, suspended particles can reduce visibility and affect the climate by absorbing and diffusing light. They soil the surfaces on which they are deposited and contribute to the physical and chemical degradation of materials. When they accumulate on foliage, they can suffocate plants and prevent photosynthesis.

 

Total Suspended Particles (TSP)

 

Classification of the sub-sectors with the highest emission levels* in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Crops including: 50% including:
Cultures with fertilizers 49%
On-field burning 0.3%
Open burning of agricultural wastes (except On-field burning) 0.3%
2 Construction 14%
3 Residential sector 10%
4 Livestock 5.5%
5 Other manufacturing industries 5.4%

*: one sector out of six (energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.

Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 841 kt in 2015
Maximum observed: 1 297 kt in 1991
Emissions in 2015: 841 kt
Trends 2015/1990: -32.6%
Trends 2015/maximum: -35.2%
Trends 2015/minimum: 0%

Measurement unit: kt (kilotonne)
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

 Graph TSP 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

 Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab TSP 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate

 

Analysis

The lowest level in Total suspended particles (TSP) emissions recorded during the survey period was in 2015. All sectors contribute to emissions of total suspended particles (TSP), the two main contributing sectors are:... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

 

PM10

Classification of the sub-sectors with the highest emission levels* in 2015

Classification Sub-sector Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Residential sector including: 29% including:
Combustion of heating appliances (boilers, inserts, closed and open fireplaces, stoves, etc.) 28%
Open burning of household garden wastes and other (vehicle burning, etc.) 1.3%
Use of tobacco 0.2%
Use of fireworks 0.1%
Non-road mobile machineries-Household and gardening 0.1%
2 Livestock 14%
3 Crops 10%
4 Construction 8.4%
5 Diesel-fulled passenger cars 6.7%
6 Other manufacturing industries 6.2%
7 Non-metallic minerals, building materials 5.3%

*: one sector out of six (energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.

 

Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 266 kt in 2015
Maximum observed: 613 kt in 1991
Emissions in 2015: 266 kt
Trends 2015/1990: -52.9%
Trends 2015/maximum: -56.7%
Trends 2015/minimum: 0%

Measurement unit: kt (kilotonne)
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format– April 2017

 Graph PM10 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format– April 2017

Tab PM10 17(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate
 

Analysis

The lowest levels in emissions of particulate matter less than 10 µm (PM10) recorded during the survey period were in 2014-2015. In mainland France, all sectors contribute to emissions but... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

 

PM2,5

Classification of the sub-sectors with the highest emission levels* in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Residential sector including: 45% including:
Combustion of heating appliances (boilers, inserts, closed and open fireplaces, stoves, etc.) 44%
Open burning of household garden wastes and other (vehicle burning, etc.) 2.1%
Use of tobacco 0.3%
Non-road mobile machineries- Household and gardening 0.1%
Use of fireworks 0.1%
2 Diesel fuelled passenger vehicles 9.0%
3 Other manufacturing industries 8.4%
4 Construction 4.8%
5 Livestock 4.3%

*: one sector out of six (energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.

 

Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 165 kt in 2015
Maximum observed: 468 kt in 1991
Emissions in 2015: 165 kt
Trends 2015/1990: -60.8%
Trends 2015/maximum: -64.8%
Trends 2015/minimum: 0%

Measurement unit: kt (kilotonne)
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

 Graph PM2 5 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

 Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab PM2 5 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate 

 

Analysis

The lowest levels in emissions of particles less than 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5) recorded during the survey period were in 2014 and 2015. These emissions are caused by... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

 

PM1,0

Classification of the sub-sectors with the highest emission levels* in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Residential sector including: 64% including:
Combustion of heating appliances (boilers, inserts, closed and open fireplaces, stoves, etc.) 63%
Use of tobacco 0.5%
Non-road mobile machineries-Household and gardening 0.1%
2 Diesel-fuelled passenger cars 9.4%
3 Diesel-fuelled light duty vehicles 4.7%
4 Ferrous metals production 4.3%
5 Other agricultural sources (combustion plants and non-road mobile machinery) 3.9%

*: one sector out of six (energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.

 

Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 113 kt in 2015
Maximum observed: 387 kt in 1991
Emissions in 2015: 113 kt
Trends 2015/1990: -66.7%
Trends 2015/maximum: -70.8%
Trends 2015/minimum: 0%

Measurement unit: kt (kilotonne)
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

 Graph PM1 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

 Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab PM1 17

 (*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate

 

Analysis

The lowest levels in emissions of particles less than 1.0 µm in diameter (PM1.0) recorded during the survey period were in 2014-2015. Even if... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

 

Black carbon 

Graph BC 17

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab BC 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.

 

Analysis

In 2015, black carbon emissions amounted to 32 kt, or... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017