© 2018

Particles in the Air

The Deadliest Pollutant is One You Breathe Every Day


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxv
  2. Doug Brugge
    Pages 1-12
  3. Doug Brugge
    Pages 13-28
  4. Doug Brugge
    Pages 29-40
  5. Doug Brugge
    Pages 41-56
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 75-83

About this book


The book covers the three largest sources of particulate matter pollution in five chapters. These sources constitute three of the top ten public health problems in the world today and far outstrip any other environmental health threats in terms of health impact. The book begins with indoor solid fuel combustion for cooking in lower income countries and tells the story of how this problem was identified and recent efforts to eliminate it. The book next looks at tobacco smoking and second hand smoke, again reviewing the history of how these problems were identified scientifically and the fierce industry push back against the science. The last two chapters cover ambient particulate matter in the outdoor air. They address fine and ultrafine particles, describing the pioneering work on fine PM, the subsequent industry attacks on the scientists and then the emerging interest and concern about ultrafine particles, an area of research in which the author has participated. This book is geared towards non-scientists, including high school and college students.


Indoor solid fuel combustion Tobacco Smoking Poor ventilation Low income sectors Environmental toxin Ultrafine particles Combustion products Roadway proximity health risks Alternative fuel options

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic LifeTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

About the authors

Dr. Doug Brugge is a Professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine. He received his BA (cum Laude) in Biology and Chemistry at the Washington University of St. Louis in 1982, his PhD in Cellular and Developmental Biology at Harvard University in 1987, and his MS in Industrial Hygiene at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1988. His research focuses include highway pollution and health, housing conditions and health, asthma, health communication, and research ethics. 

Bibliographic information


“The global burden of exposure to particulate pollution represents one of the most important public health problems of our time. … Doug Brugge’s Particles in the Air … aims to correct this knowledge gap by laying out the many ways particulates affect health. … Brugge’s discussion of these issues makes the book a must-read for scientists, policy makers, and the general public. … This book is well written and in language that can be understood by both scientists and the lay public.” (Russ Lopez, New Solutions, January 02, 2019)

“This slim volume discusses the major pathways of exposure to particulate matter—including cooking using open fires, smoking, and secondhand smoke—and describes measures used to quantify environmental concentrations, the threat to humans, and health responses. … The text contains a few images as well as a brief bibliography for each chapter. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers.” (S. C. Pryor, Choice, VOl. 50 (8), April, 2019)