Fine Particles in Seattle's Air: What, When, Where, Why and So What?

March 2, 2017

In recent years, it has become widely recognized by the scientific community that airborne particles known as “fine particles” are harmful to human health. This is not surprising when the pollution is extreme – we commonly see pictures in the news depicting heavy urban haze shrouding cities in other parts of the world where people routinely wear masks to reduce exposures. But what about the fine particles in Seattle and the surrounding area? While the air is cleaner in Seattle than the developing world, it may surprise you to find out that it wasn’t always this way. Learn how air quality has improved overall, which areas in Seattle are still problematic, and what needs to be done.

Timothy Larson, professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW