Toxic substances list: respirable particulate matter

Particulate matter can be emitted directly into the atmosphere or formed secondarily from precursor gases as a result of physical and chemical transformations. Particulate matter may include a broad range of chemical species, such as elemental carbon and organic carbon compounds, oxides of silicon, aluminum and iron, trace metals, sulphates, nitrates and ammonia. It is ubiquitous, being emitted from both natural and anthropogenic sources. The fine fraction of particulate matter and its precursor gases originate typically from combustion processes - motor vehicles, industrial processes and vegetative burning. The available data indicate that source contributions to primary PM emissions and precursor gases in Canada vary by province/territory and by region. Industrial sources provide a major contribution in most provinces, followed by non-industrial fuel combustion and the transportation sector. Long-range transport from industrial regions of the United States makes a major contribution to levels of particulate matter in some regions of Canada.

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Substances Management Information Line
Chemicals Management Plan
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 1-800-567-1999  (in Canada) or 819-938-3232
Fax: 819-938-3231


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