英文 English 
Fine particulate matter is a hidden killer that affects everyone (2015/07/26)

Last week we discussed the problem of fine particulate matter. This type of pollution, which measures 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, is invisible to the naked eye but can do unimaginable harm to the body. It’s important to know how to protect oneself from this invisible killer.

During rush hour, there is heavy scooter congestion on bridges throughout Taipei. According to statistics from the Environmental Protection Administration, there’s one scooter or motorcycle for every 1.6 people in Taiwan, giving Taiwan the highest scooter density in the world. It’s easy to understand how scooter exhaust affects us all.

There are four members of Mrs. Lin’s family. After moving to Xinzhuang 12 years ago, the biggest change they noted was not the high-rise buildings but the expressways in front of their apartment.

Mrs. Lin
Xinzhuang Resident
Many people ride scooters and motorcycles to reach work in the Wugu Industrial Park. For this reason, I don’t dare open my windows. It’s hard to imagine how bad it would be for all this exhaust to enter our apartment.

Exhaust from vehicles contains sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter, which is an invisible killer.

Candice Lung
Academia Sinica Research Fellow
What‘s so terrible about fine particulate matter? Basically, it’s less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. When it’s suspended in the air it’s invisible.

In general, particles that are larger than 10 micrometers in diameter will be stopped by the nasal cavity. Suspended particulate matter between 2.5 and 10 micrometers could enter the respiratory tract. Particulate matter below 2.5 micrometers travels to the bronchial and alveolar part of the lungs, potentially entering the bloodstream.

Yeh Guang-peng
Taiwan Healthy Air Alliance Founder
PM2.5 is the most worrisome because it can cause inflammation throughout the body. If it enters the blood and circulates through the heart, it may even cause hardening of the arteries and thrombosis, potentially leading to cardiovascular changes and heart disease. If it gets to blood vessels in the brain, it may cause a stroke or dementia.

Cheng Tsun-jen
NTU Public Health Professor
The World Health Organization and the International Agency on Cancer Research have identified air pollution and in particular PM2.5 as a class one carcinogen.

Cheng Tsun-jen, a professor at National Taiwan University’s College of Public Health, has been studying the effects of PM2.5 on the human body. Cheng’s team recently conducted a three-month trial on mice.

Cheng Tsun-jen
NTU Public Health Professor
Some mice were exposed to outside air and others were given air that has been filtered for PM2.5. After three months, we found that those which (breathed air with PM2.5) suffered some inflammation of their myocardium and heart.

The EPA set up 76 air monitoring stations across Taiwan. Air quality conditions can be easily ascertained by referring to this computer display.

But some feel that this data may not reflect real conditions.

Yeh Guang-peng
Taiwan Healthy Air Alliance Founder
Most of these monitoring stations are located at elementary schools, middle schools, kindergartens or public institutions. But we typically don’t walk past these buildings, so the samples won’t compare to what we experience by the side of the road.

Some 60 air quality monitoring stations measure general air quality. Only six are dedicated to monitoring traffic.

Hsieh Bing-huei
EPA Air Quality Section
We don’t have enough monitoring stations measuring traffic because there are technical difficulties with putting stations beside streets, such as traffic safety considerations. These are all important factors that we need to address. I believe we should encourage county and city governments to discuss the need to establish such monitoring stations.

In metropolitan areas, some believe that regulations regarding engine emissions may be too loose.

Yeh Guang-peng
Taiwan Healthy Air Alliance Founder
Car idling produces air pollution. In Canada, you have 10 seconds to turn off the engine, but in Taiwan it’s three minutes, which is 18 times longer.

Hsieh Bing-huei
EPA Air Quality Section
(Idling) is determined by the driver. In the future, we hope that new cars will control this function automatically by turning off the engine after a certain amount of time.

Some worry that the government’s approach to preventing fine particulate matter is too lax. It may become more important for individuals to take a personal interest in pollution. Experts recommend that people consult air quality readings and forecasts before deciding to wear a mask or participate in athletic activities.

Cheng Tsun-jen
NTU Public Health Professor
Riding a bicycle (outdoors) is good for one’s cardiovascular system, but when these fine particles are sucked into the body, there could be a negative effect. When air pollution is bad, it’s best not to undertake this kind of exercise.

Before going out, consult not only the weather forecast but also pollution levels. Be aware of the dangers of fine particulate matter contained in the haze of pollution which surrounds us.
中文 Chinese  




[[林太太居民 新北市新莊區]]


[[龍世俊 研究員 中研院環境變遷研究中心]]


[[葉光芃發起人 台灣健康空氣行動聯盟]]

[[鄭尊仁 教授 台大公衛學院]]


[[鄭尊仁 教授 台大公衛學院]]



[[葉光芃發起人 台灣健康空氣行動聯盟]]


[[謝炳輝副處長 環保署空保處]]


[[葉光芃發起人 台灣健康空氣行動聯盟]]

[[謝炳輝副處長 環保署空保處]]


[[鄭尊仁 教授 台大公衛學院]]

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