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Airborne Particulates

Particle pollution (also called particulate matter or PM) is the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small, they can only be detected using an electron microscope. Particle pollution includes inhalable coarse particles, with diameters larger than 2.5 micrometers and smaller than 10 micrometers and fine particles, with diameters that are 2.5 micrometers and smaller. How small is 2.5 micrometers? Think about a single hair from your head. The average human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter -- making it 30 times larger than the largest fine particle. These particles come in many sizes and shapes and can be made up of hundreds of different chemicals. Some particles, known as primary particles, are emitted directly from a source, such as construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks or fires. Others form in complicated reactions in the atmosphere of chemicals such as sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides that are emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles. These particles, known as secondary particles, make up most of the fine particle pollution in the country.

This information is updated hourly. All times shown are Local Standard Time.

Click here for a map showing the current PM-2.5 levels.

Click here for the current Air Quality Index.

PM-2.5 (Local Conditions)

Fine particulates (PM-2.5) are generally emitted from activities such as industrial and residential combustion and from vehicle exhaust. Fine particles are also formed in the atmosphere when gases such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, emitted by combustion activities, are transformed by chemical reactions in the air. Large-scale agricultural burning or sand storms can produce huge volumes of fine particulates. PM-2.5 data is the near real-time measurement of particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in size from the surrounding air. This measurement is made at local conditions, and is not corrected for temperature or pressure.

The table below contains hourly averages for PM-2.5 (Local Conditions) on Friday, October 24, 2014.

         
Select a Region:
AreaCAMSMorningPOCCAMS
Mid 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00
El Paso-Juarez - all times are in Mountain Standard Time
41 4.07.08.021.0 FEW NA NA6 N 41
Maximum values for PM-2.5 (Local Conditions) for the day are bold within the table.
PM-2.5 (Local Conditions) is measured in micrograms per cubic meter (local conditions)
 N - Data from this instrument does not meet EPA quality assurance criteria and cannot be used for regulatory purposes.


PM-2.5 (Local Conditions) Acceptable

Fine particulates (PM-2.5) are generally emitted from activities such as industrial and residential combustion and from vehicle exhaust. Fine particles are also formed in the atmosphere when gases such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, emitted by combustion activities, are transformed by chemical reactions in the air. Large-scale agricultural burning or sand storms can produce huge volumes of fine particulates. PM-2.5 data is the near real-time measurement of particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in size from the surrounding air. This measurement is made at local conditions, and is not corrected for temperature or pressure.

The table below contains hourly averages for PM-2.5 (Local Conditions) Acceptable on Friday, October 24, 2014.

         
Select a Region:
AreaCAMSMorningPOCCAMS
Mid 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00
El Paso-Juarez - refer to the first data column for each site's specific time zone
MST12 10.912.310.19.310.9 NA NA3 12
MST37 11.09.59.98.67.1 FEW NA3 37
MST49 9.38.77.68.28.9 FEW NA3 49
CST316 6.42.83.24.03.84.4 FEW3 316
Maximum values for PM-2.5 (Local Conditions) Acceptable for the day are bold within the table.
PM-2.5 (Local Conditions) Acceptable is measured in micrograms per cubic meter (local conditions)


PM-10 (Standard Conditions)

Coarse particulates (PM-10) come from sources such as windblown dust from the desert or agricultural fields (sand storms) and dust kicked up on unpaved roads by vehicle traffic. PM-10 data is the near real-time measurement of particulate matter 10 microns or less in size from the surrounding air. This measurement is made at standard conditions, meaning it is corrected for local temperature and pressure.

The table below contains hourly averages for PM-10 (Standard Conditions) on Friday, October 24, 2014.

         
Select a Region:
AreaCAMSMorningPOCCAMS
Mid 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00
El Paso-Juarez - all times are in Mountain Standard Time
12 33.938.425.425.227.2 NA NA4 N 12
49 23.823.122.322.722.0 FEW NA4 N 49
Maximum values for PM-10 (Standard Conditions) for the day are bold within the table.
PM-10 (Standard Conditions) is measured in ug/cu meter (25 c)
 N - Data from this instrument does not meet EPA quality assurance criteria and cannot be used for regulatory purposes.


PM-10 (Local Conditions)

Coarse particulates (PM-10) come from sources such as windblown dust from the desert or agricultural fields (sand storms) and dust kicked up on unpaved roads by vehicle traffic. PM-10 data is the near real-time measurement of particulate matter 10 microns or less in size from the surrounding air. This measurement is made at local conditions, meaning it is not corrected for temperature or pressure.

The table below contains hourly averages for PM-10 (Local Conditions) on Friday, October 24, 2014.

         
Select a Region:
AreaCAMSMorningPOCCAMS
Mid 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00
El Paso-Juarez - all times are in Mountain Standard Time
41 69.0035.0059.0066.00 FEW NA NA6 41
Maximum values for PM-10 (Local Conditions) for the day are bold within the table.
PM-10 (Local Conditions) is measured in micrograms per cubic meter (local conditions)


PLEASE NOTE:  This data has not been verified by the TCEQ and may change. This is the most current data, but it is not official until it has been certified by our technical staff. Data is collected from TCEQ ambient monitoring sites and may include data collected by other outside agencies. This data is updated hourly. All times shown are in local standard time unless otherwise indicated.

Following EPA reporting guidelines, negative values may be displayed in our hourly criteria air quality data beginning 1/1/2013, down to the negative of the EPA listed Method Detection Limit (MDL) for the particular instrument that made the measurements. The reported concentrations can be negative due to zero drift in the electronic instrument output, data logger channel, or calibration adjustments to the data. Prior to 1/1/2013, slightly negative values were automatically set to zero.