PM10 are very small particles found in dust and smoke. They have a diameter of 10 micrometres (0.01 mm) or smaller.

PM10 particles are a common air pollutant. We measure PM10 at some of our air monitoring sites.

Health effects of PM10 particles

PM10 particles are small enough to get into your throat and lungs. High levels of PM10 can make you cough, your nose run and eyes sting. 

People with heart or lung conditions might have more symptoms when PM10 levels are high. Symptoms can include wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing.

What you can do when PM10 levels are high

If PM10 particle levels are high, you can:

  • avoid being outside in the smoke or dust, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms
  • close your windows and doors
  • if you have asthma, follow your asthma action plan
  • if you have a heart or lung condition, follow your treatment plan
  • if you’re worried about your symptoms, see your doctor or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.

Sources of PM10 particles

Common sources of PM10 particles include:

PM10 on EPA AirWatch

We show PM10 data on EPA AirWatch using air quality categories.

Air quality category

PM10 µg/maveraged over 1 hour 

Good   Less than 40
Fair   40–80
Poor   80–120
Very poor   120–300
Extremely poor   More than 300

Current standards for PM10

We compare PM10 data against national air quality standards.

We follow national air quality standards in our State Environment Protection Policy (Ambient Air Quality), with the exception of the PM10 annual standard.

Victoria has adopted a stricter PM10 annual standard of 20 µg/m3.

National standard Averaging time
50 µg/m3 24 hours
25 µg/m3 (Victorian standard 20 µg/m3 Annual 
There is currently no national standard for the one-hour PM10 average. For one-hour PM10 data, we use the value 80 µg/m3 to trigger a ‘poor’ air quality category.  

Read more about air quality

Air pollution

Carbon monoxide in the air

Nitrogen dioxide in the air

Ozone in the air

PM2.5 particles in the air



Sulfur dioxide in the air

Air pollution and visibility

Vehicle emissions and air quality

Wood smoke and air quality

Clean air and future air quality

Your health and the environment: learn and take action

Reviewed 16 March 2021