Have you ever wondered how to tell if air is clean?

14 June 2017

Air pollution has long been a problem in nations all around the world. The World Health Organization has observed that up to 1 in 9 of total global deaths are linked to exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution. 1

Smart cities, better waste management, clean energy and sustainable industrial practices should all lead to improvements in air quality around the world, but how do we measure the quality of the air?

Standards Australia recently completed revisions of two standards addressing air quality:

• AS 3580.9.9:2017, Methods for sampling and analysis of ambient air, Method 9.9: Determination of suspended particulate matter—PM10 low volume sampler— Gravimetric method
• AS 3580.9.10:2017, Methods for sampling and analysis of ambient air, Method 9.10: Determination of suspended particulate matter—PM2.5 low volume sampler— Gravimetric method

Particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5 are pollutants that present a significant community concern worldwide. These forms of particulates are respirable and present major public health issues.

AS 3580.9.9 and AS 3580.9.10 set out methods for detecting PM10 and PM2.5 in order to assess air quality. These Australian documents were revised to make them consistent with other contemporary particulate matter standards.

Technical committee EV-007, Methods for Examination of Air, was responsible for this project. Chair of the committee, Mr Frank Fleer, commented on the revisions.

“EV-007 takes its responsibility in maintaining accurate and reliable standards for the measurement of these pollutants very seriously. It’s both an environmental concern and a major health issue affecting many communities worldwide.

“Consequently we felt it was necessary to update these documents to reflect modern quality assurance and quality control requirements to best protect the Australian public,” said Mr Fleer.

1 World Health Organization. Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. WHO Releases Country Estimates on Air Pollution Exposure and Health Impact. WHO Media Centre. World Health Organization, 27 Sept. 2016. Web. 13 June 2017.
Communications Department
Standards Australia

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