DURAG enlightens: Fine dust measurement in cities

Why clean air is a science in itself


It not only lies in the air, it affects people directly: especially in larger cities and metropolitan areas, the particulate matter pollution is an often-discussed topic - quite rightly so. Even in low concentrations, particulate matter is harmful to the human health. This makes compliance with the statutory limit values and the exact measurements required for verification all the more important.

Scientific studies show that the absorption of fine dust particles, especially in the range below 2.5μm, can reach almost all internal organs and above all cause permanent irritation and stress of the cells through long-term exposure. The result is similar to a permanent inflammation and can lead to permanent damage.
A large number of medical studies are basically concerned with determining the combination of particle size and number with chemical composition and the resulting diseases. Unfortunately, the research on causes and effects is only at the beginning.At present it is known from various studies that there are connections, but not exactly what and how they work.
Short-term effects are most likely to be seen in respiratory diseases, but they basically affect all internal organs and also manifest themselves in cardio-vascular diseases.

Thus, all measures for the reduction of air pollutants serve the purpose to protect the human health. Basis for this is, for example in Europe, the EU Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC with its amendment 2015/1480/EC.

Concrete specifications for fine dust measurement

It describes the principle of air quality monitoring in order to ensure compliance with the limit values everywhere. This is especially evident in places where many people live. Excluded from the specifications are some areas for which the public has no access and where there is no fixed housing and adequate regulations for jobs - this area is virtually unregulated in terms of particulate matter. The regulations for outdoor areas are much stricter than for indoor areas.

The basis for the measurements are the maximum possible concentrations to which the population is exposed. For pollutants, which mainly originate from traffic, the placement of measuring stations on busy roads in cities ensures that requirements are met. Strict specifications regulate the distance of traffic-oriented measuring stations: to the next intersection, to the edge of the road, to buildings, to the flow conditions and the height of the measuring inlet opening, where the air samples are collected. Calculations from collected data allow for a simple estimation of the spatial extent of the load and other highly frequented roads.

In Germany, for example, a station near by traffic has to be set up no further than ten meters from the edge of the road and at least 25 meters from a busy intersection. When choosing a location accessibility, power supply and telephone lines, visibility of the measuring station in the vicinity, safety to the public and the operating personnel is taken into account. It is necessary to collect concentration data in residential areas, which is as representative as possible. Another type of station will be located on the outskirts of the city.

17 active measuring stations in Berlin

In Berlin, Germany's capital with almost 3.8 million inhabitants, 17 active measuring stations have been set up throughout the city. The inhabitants of Berlin can even check the current air quality index live on the Internet and thus identify the fine dust hotspots. The recorded measurements flow regularly into an analysis of the measured values, the so-called clean air plan, which the Berlin Senate constantly updates - always with the aim of protecting human health.

Fine dust measurement as a special field of the DURAG GROUP

We make a valuable contribution with our "Mission: Emission" as we develop high-tech measuring instruments to make air pollution monitoring precise and effective. It is extremely important that, in addition to unconditional adherence to standardized measuring procedures, the measuring instruments used, will meet high quality standards. "Currently many cheap solutions are flooding the market and giving the impression that these devices can be used to measure correctly," warns Völker Ziegler, Management Sales at GRIMM. Our specialists in this field, based at GRIMM, develop measuring instruments that can determine the fine dust content extremely accurately – from the portable version with a weight of only 1.5 kilograms to complete stationary systems.

The Berlin Air Quality Measuring Network (BLUME), for example, is fully equipped with GRIMM EDM180, the leading automated system for measuring particle concentration (PM10, PM2.5).

Further information can be found at www.grimm-aerosol.com.


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