Particulate matter (PM) is a chemical composition of smoke, including sulfates, carbon, nitrates, or mineral dusts. It stems from vehicle and industrial emissions and other fossil fuel burning, and researchers are now increasingly examining wildfires and the effects of longterm exposure to wildfire smoke that affect respiratory illnesses and other impacts to human health.
A subset of PM — fine particulate matter (PM2.5) — is especially dangerous to human health because it’s 30 times thinner than a human hair and can not only lodge in lung tissue but also cross into the brain after it’s inhaled.
Scientists from the University of Michigan have identified a link between agriculture and wildfire PM2.5 emissions and the onset of dementia among 27,857 adult Americans, with data drawn from the national Health and Retirement Study. Pollution estimates were based on the locations of the participants, who were older than 50 and did not have dementia at the outset. About 15 percent of the study participants developed dementia, but the rate of cognitive decline was significantly greater in the areas of high PM2.5 concentration between 1998 and 2016.
THANKS and a tip of the hardhat to Jay for this info.