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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of Cincinnati

Field Validation of a Personal Sensor for Ultrafine PM in Asthmatic Children

Sang Young Son
sangyoung.son@uc.edu

 

Project Description

 

Epidemiologic studies of the impact of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) on human health are frequently limited by the use of surrogate, ambient, or modeled exposure. The need for personal monitoring is evident in susceptible subpopulations, particularly children, who spend significant time at schools and in vehicles in addition to their homes. Further, children may have high levels of physical activity and play in close proximity to particulate sources, resulting in higher levels of exposure than those recorded at stationary sampling sites. In order to address current limitations in characterizing exposure, a personal and wearable sensor capable of measuring, with high spatiotemporal resolution, exposure to ultrafine particles (UFP) has been developed and validated in laboratory settings.

 

Though a personal sensor has been developed to be sufficiently small, rugged, and straightforward to allow its widespread use in epidemiologic studies, it had not been validated outside the laboratory or utilized in the field. Therefore, the objectives of this work have been to validate this highly innovative sensor in the field and conduct a field test of the sensor in an ongoing epidemiologic study of TRAP exposure at schools and in communities. This study has benefitted from the collaboration of engineers and epidemiologists working together to produce a personal sensor for UFP capable of being utilized in epidemiologic studies.

 

In order to achieve the study objectives, the developed sensor has been validated in the field against current, non- personal, gold-standard instruments. Following validation, a field test of the personal sensor has been conducted within the context of a currently ongoing epidemiologic study, the Cincinnati Anti-Idling Campaign (CAIC) study. Children enrolled in the CAIC attend one of four participating Cincinnati Public Schools with varying exposure to TRAP from nearby roads or school buses. In addition, CAIC participants are asthmatic and have completed an initial health assessment.

 

Exposure to TRAP is currently assessed in the CAIC study through the use of school and community ambient air monitoring. The CAIC study is, therefore, ideal to assess the benefit of personal monitoring and to determine the acceptability and usability of the developed sensor in a population of inner-city asthmatic children. The results of the field tests provide feedback that can be used to modify the sensor in preparation for wide-spread use in epidemiologic studies.

 

Epidemiologic studies of the impact of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) on human health are frequently limited by the use of surrogate, ambient, or modeled exposure. In order to address current limitations in characterizing exposure, a personal and wearable sensor capable of measuring, with high spatiotemporal resolution, exposure to ultrafine particles (UFP) has been developed and validated in laboratory settings. The objectives of this research are to validate this highly innovative sensor in the field and conduct a field test of the sensor in an ongoing epidemiologic study of TRAP exposure at schools and communities.

 

See this project's publications and patents 

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