Thanks to growing council air quality monitoring programmes we now have a good picture of PM10 concentrations in many New Zealand towns and cities. Unfortunately this monitoring has found that PM10 concentrations frequently breach the Ministry for the Environment's ambient air quality guideline values of 50 ug/m3 (24 hour average) and 20 ug/m3 (annual average). Such concentrations are known to adversely affect people's health and wellbeing.
This technical report on the health effects of PM10 in New Zealand (particles less than 10 microns in diameter)describes the potential health effects caused by inhaling PM10 in New Zealand towns and cities. Health effects range from minor effects, such as nose and throat irritation, to more serious effects such as aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease, increased hospital admissions and school absences, and premature death.
The report will assist with the development of national environmental standards for air quality under the Resource Management Act 1991. Knowledge about health effects will help to determine appropriate standards and to estimate the benefits of achieving them.
This report is released for information only. It forms part of the section 32 analysis required for standards development. Four other background reports on particles are available covering: emission inventory results, amenity issues and monitoring results.
Thank you to those councils and others who assisted with the preparation of this report.