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Your Environment. Your Health.

Research Triangle Institute

Personal Aerosol Sensor Platform to Link Children's Exposures to Asthma Severity

Charles Eric Rodes

Project Description


The prevalence of pulmonary diseases, and especially asthma, in the United States is a major health concern for both for adults and children. Due to the existing uncertainties in linkages between personal exposures to known stressors such as aerosols and pulmonary disease, devices that measure aerosols and other inhaled exposures are continuously sought to better define the disease/exposure relationship.


The long-term objectives of our research include

personal aerosol sensor

(Photo courtesy of Charles Rodes)


  1. Develop a versatile low-burden personal aerosol exposure platform for pulmonary diseases to sample and sense aerosols by size and species and to link them with selected markers of disease severity.
  2. Add parallel acute and chronic metrics for outcomes where both exposure types apply.
  3. Plan how to add parallel exposure assessment capabilities to the platform to eventually address known and potential inhalation co-factors, including ozone, ultrafines, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and carbonyls, as well as the confounder, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).
  4. Develop procedures and components that enable deployment of the personal platform in large-scale exposure biology etiology studies, including the methods for the associated data capture and validation.


Focus areas of this proposal include the following:


  1. Develop an extremely small and lightweight real-time aerosol sensor with adequate specificity and sensitivity to characterize sized, breathing zone aerosol for children;
  2. Modify the design of the current RTI MicroPEM(tm) personal exposure platform to include the new aerosol sensor via a universal sensor interface for acute exposures;
  3. Include integrated (chronic) collections for aerosol mass and endotoxin while retaining the low-burden design;
  4. Integrate the aerosol sensor into the platform and allow real-time mass and (potentially) endotoxin concentration estimates;
  5. Include the potential to add global positioning system (GPS), activity level, and wearing compliance sensors; and
  6. Incorporate parallel integrated collections to assess ozone exposure (as a co-factor) and ETS (as a confounder).


See this project's publications and patents 

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