- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $646,000 to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality to monitor fine particulate matter.

The federal agency announced the $646,582 grant on Wednesday to monitor the particles found in smoke and haze that measure 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter.

The particles come from a variety of sources and can have serious effects on the heart and lungs if inhaled. Particles can be emitted from forest fires or can form when gases emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles react in the air.

Health problems caused if the particles are inhaled include premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma and decreased lung function.

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