Local affiliate of the Ohio EPA and service of Summit County Public Health: Serving Medina, Portage, and Summit Counties of Ohio

Akron Regional Air Quality Management District




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Fugitive Dust
Highland Towers Fugitive Dust

Fugitive Dust and Particulate Matter (PM)

Fugitive dust is any particulate matter, material that is not in an uncombined form with water, has been or is airborne, and is a liquid or solid at standard conditions, emitted from any source by means other than a stack. A stack is any chimney, flue, conduit or duct, including the outlet of any air pollution control equipment that reduces ambient air emissions. These materials can be referred to as particle pollution. Fugitive dust and PM can include acids (i.e. nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals (V.O.C.ís, volatile organic chemicals), metals, soil or dust particles, and allergens.

Why are different sizes of Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM10) Measured?

Different sizes of particulate matter are found to have drastically different effects on an individualís health. Particle matter that are less than 10 micrometers (PM10) have been found to easily enter deep into ones lungs contributing to respiratory ailments and has also been found to enter ones bloodstream contributing to heart problems. A coarse dust particle (PM10) refers to particulate matter between 2.5 micrometers and 10 micrometers. PM10  can originate from crushing or grinding operations and dust stirred up by vehicles on roads. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is 2.5 micrometers or less and more easily affects ones respiratory system than coarse. Sources of PM2.5 relate to any process involving combustion of wood, agriculture, gas, coal and more. Automobiles, power plants, and residential wood burning are just some examples of PM2.5 sources.

What Health effects can Particulate Matter have on me?

Fugitive dust and particulate matter have been linked to health problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and heart disease. Particulate matter can cause temporary irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Other symptoms than can be felt are a tightness of the chest, shortness of breath, coughing, and phlegm. Those with pre-existing respiratory conditions may experience asthma attacks, wheezing, or abnormal fatigue.

worker not using water to supress PM production

PM and its health effects

Who is most affected by Particulate Matter?

Populations that are most affected by fugitive dust and particulate matter are those with heart or lung disease, 14 and under, 65 and over,  frequently active, exercisers, and recent studies suggest those with diabetes. Studies have shown that older adults are more likely to be hospitalized during high particulate levels and are at a greater risk of dying from aggravated heart or lung disease. Adults breathe an average of 15,000 liters of air per day while children breathe 50 percent more than an adult of the same weight.  Not only do children breathe more than an adult but they are more at risk of respiratory illness since their lungs are still developing. Those whom exercise or do strenuous work breathe more air, up to 20% more air than at rest, and allows for circulation in the lungs to penetrate deeper. Not only are those whom exercise and do strenuous activity breathing more but they are also most likely breathing in through their mouths rather than their nose, a natural filter, thus inhaling even more particulate matter and pollutants.


How many people are considered most at risk to be affected by Particulate Matter in Ohioís Medina, Portage, and Summit Counties?


The American Lung Associationís 2015 State of the Air report, based upon data from the EPA and US Census, looks at three air quality variables and shows each individual U.S. Counties sensitive populations, total populations, and populations younger than 18, older than 65 and by various health complication. The three air quality variables utilized are ozone, 24-hour particulate matter (PM) showing short-term exposure, collected twice daily (once at 8 am and again at 4pm), and annual averages of particulate matter showing yearly exposure. These variables are then graded A-F or pass/fail based upon the measurement of PM in micrograms per cubic meter of air. Below is a summary of the findings from the American Lung Associationís 2015 State of the Air Report:


         Medina County has a population of 174,035

         Particle Pollution Grade:†††† 24 hr ~ A†††††††††††††††††††

         Annual Average ~ Incomplete

         At Risk Population

         Pediatric Asthma†††††††††††††††††††   4,080

         Adult Asthma†††††††††††††††††††††††††† 12,898

         COPD                                        5,846

         Cardiovascular Disease††††††† 13,919



         Portage County has a population of 163,862

         Particle Pollution Grade:†††† 24 hr ~ A††††††††††††††††††

         Annual Average ~ Pass

         At Risk Population

         Pediatric Asthma†††††††††††††††††††   3,082

         Adult Asthma†††††††††††††††††††††††††† 12,941

         COPD                    ††††††††††††††††  10,484

         Cardiovascular Disease††††††† 12,368



         Summit has a population of 541,824

         Particle Pollution Grade:†††† 24 hr ~ A††††††††††††††††††

         Annual Average ~ Pass

         At Risk Population

         Pediatric Asthma††††††††††††††††††† 11,529

         Adult Asthma†††††††††††††††††††††††††† 41,069

         COPD††††††††††††††††                      35,709

         Cardiovascular Disease        43,965




Illegal open burning


improper burn material


fugitive dust


Fugitive Dust

1867 West Market Street, Akron, OH 44313

AQ Information Line: 330-375-2545
toll free: 1-800-589-2480    

Local: 330-375-2480

Fax: 330-752-7792



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