Where does particulate pollution come from and what can I do about it? (Besides wearing a mask all the time)

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This is a series where I take my lectures presented as adjunct professor teaching sustainable design at Ryerson University School of Interior Design in Toronto and distill them down to a sort of Pecha Kucha slideshow of the essentials. Some of this material has been shown in previous posts on TreeHugger.

Last week, while teaching my class, there was a sudden strong smell and my eyes started watering. Evidently a student on the second floor set their plastic coffee mug on fire in the microwave oven. There was not enough smoke to set off the fire alarms, but enough to set off my own internal alarms, and I sent everyone home.

This week, I decided to talk about air pollution, and in particular, the danger from the really tiny particulates known as PM2.5. We used to be breathing them all the time, thanks to emissions from industry (like above in Pittsburgh in 1940 and thanks to cigarettes).

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