• Kyodo

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Toxic smog that is spreading to Japan from China almost certainly exceeded the central government’s maximum limit in Fukuoka on Saturday, local officials said.

The Fukuoka Municipal Government reported Saturday morning that the average amount of PM2.5 particulates — an air pollutant found in the toxic haze that enveloped 25 percent of China last month — is estimated to have reached 50.5 micrograms per cubic meter in the city Saturday. The Environment Ministry’s maximum permissible level is 35 micrograms a day.

The actual PM2.5 reading in Fukuoka was to be confirmed later Saturday. However, it was expected to show that the pollutant in the city had exceeded the government limit for the first time since Fukuoka started releasing estimates Feb. 15.

The local government urged the public to wear masks outdoors and to refrain from hanging out laundry to dry.

PM2.5, hazardous particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter — equivalent to 2.5 thousandths of a millimeter — can be absorbed by the lungs and cause heart and lung diseases.

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