Chemicals & Human Health

Lung Toxicology Problem Set

Problem 7: PM10


What is PM10?

A. the number of packs per day that cause lung cancer in 10% of the population
B. particles which are small enough to be deposited in the lungs
The air we breath contains lots of little particles of matter such as pollen, and dust. Particles of matter that are smaller than 10 microns in diameter are small enough to get into the lungs and cause damage.

Particles larger than 10 microns in diameter are filtered out of the air by the nasal cavity and the ciliated cells lining the bronchi. These large particles are either removed through coughing or are carried up the bronchi by the cilia and swallowed. Particles less that 10 microns in diameter can get all the way down into the alveoli in the lungs. They can cause tissue damage as they hit the lung tissue. These tiny particles can also damage the lung by causing irritation which can lead to scarring of the lung tissue.

C. a measure of the amount of pollen in a certain volume of air
D. a measure of the severity of an asthma attack

The Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center
The Biology Project
The University of Arizona
Tuesday, October 14, 1997
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