Monitoring discrepancies spell trouble for PM10 standard

A monitoring technique used to measure fine particulates (PM10) in UK cities under-reports pollution levels by up to 30%, a study for the European Commission has found. A proposed EC air quality standard is based on a different monitoring method - and may therefore be much harder to meet than the current UK standard.

PM10 levels are measured at 43 automated monitoring sites run by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). All these sites use the tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) technique.

The UK's air quality objective for PM10 is to ensure that a rolling 24-hour mean standard of 50µg/m3 is met at the 99th percentile by 2005. The objective is based on data gathered by TEO

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