One technique of measurement of the amount of filterable particulate matter suspended in air which has been used in the past depends upon drawing a measured sample of air (usually 1 000 linear feet) through a paper or membranefilter. A measurement is made of the intensity of light transmitted through the dust spot formed relative to that transmitted through an identical clean filter. The dirtiness of the air is reported in terms of the unit. This relates to the quantity of particulate material which produces an optical density,
of 0.01 when measured by light transmission at and relative to the transmission of an identical dust-free filter taken as 100%. Thus a filter which transmitted 50% relative to the clean filter has an absorbance of 0.301 or 30.1 units. This is not a recommended measure of filterable particulate matter since the size, colour and other properties of the aerosol and the air in which it is suspended affect the results.
PAC, 1990, 62, 2167 (Glossary of atmospheric chemistry terms (Recommendations 1990)) on page 2180