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Your Environment. Your Health.

Columbia University New York Morningside

Validating Particulate Matter Monitors for Multiple Parameters

Steven N. Chillrud
chilli@ldeo.columbia.edu

 

The overall goal of this study has been to field test and validate recently developed particulate matter monitors for multiple parameters, including detection of personal exposure tool to second hand tobacco smoke (SHS).  A wide array of symptoms and diseases in both adults and children are associated with SHS exposure, and it has been concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to SHS, a stressor and confounder. The historical decline in smoking rates in the US population has leveled off with an estimated 43% of the US population remaining exposed to significant levels of SHS, suggesting that understanding the patterns of exposure for SHS, especially for poor children, is still critically important.

 

Standard exposure tools have problems, and objective, quantitative methods that can assess personal exposure levels and pathways are critically needed. This research focuses on novel approaches for assessing personal exposure to SHS that have been built into the miniaturized particulate matter monitors recently developed by teams headed at Columbia University and RTI. Both teams have focused on approaches that provide real-time data of key PM components and compliance and activity data as well as filters for collecting sized PM that can be assessed in the lab for SHS by non-destructive optical methods.

 

Prior work has shown that the activity monitors integrated into the RTI and Columbia monitors can predict ventilation rate as a function of time, allowing estimation of potential inhaled dose as an additional method. The advantage of using these two newly-developed air monitors is their ability to assess of complex mixtures of PM while providing more robust SHS exposure distributions with less exposure misclassification than traditional methods. This research brings together two groups from the GEI Chemical Sensor Program and investigators running inner city asthma cohort studies in NYC and Baltimore.

 

Early versions of miniaturized particulate monitors developed by the two groups have been successfully deployed in lab and field tests, and development is continuing with a focus on reductions in size and improvements in ease of use that decrease field costs and increase compliance. Our work addresses the following specific aims:

 

Aim 1) Assess the usability and acceptability of the miniaturized personal air monitors for cohort studies.

Aim 2) Assess the sensitivity and specificity of real time and integrative filter based methods for assessing exposure to second hand smoke and other sources of particulate matter.

 

Exposure to second hand tobacco smoke (SHS) continues to be a major public health threat as well as an important confounder when studying health impacts of other pollutants. This research focuses on validating novel approaches for assessing personal exposure to SHS that have been built into the miniaturized particulate matter monitors recently developed by teams headed at Columbia University and RTI. Better validated exposure methods for SHS will eventually lead to a more complete understating of SHS exposure patterns and health outcomes associated with a wide range of pollutants. Additionally, this work complements related Exposure Biology research into biomarkers associated with SHS exposure, A Non-Invasive Gene-Expression Biomarker Of Airway Response To Tobacco Exposure and Validation of a Genomic Biomarker of Response to Environmental Tobacco Smoke.

 

See this project's publications and patents 

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