How Citizen Science Air Quality Monitoring is Being Used to Characterize Exposures and Improve Public Health
The NIEHS Exposure Science and the Exposome Webinar Series
August 22, 2017
Recordings of past events are available on YouTube - Exposome.
Join Webinar LISTSERV
Register for the Webinar LISTSERV to receive information on upcoming NIEHS Exposome webinars.
Literature on Exposome
The NIEHS Strategic Plan places a significant emphasis on transforming exposure science through the development of new approaches to exposure assessment, the definition and dissemination of the exposome concept, and the development and demonstration of the exposome as a tool for both epidemiological and mechanistic research. In order to achieve this goal, NIEHS launched the Exposure Science and the Exposome Webinar Series on April 4, 2014 to foster discussions on international efforts in advancing exposure science and the exposome concept as well as challenges and opportunities in incorporating this concept in environmental health research.
Air pollution is a staggering worldwide problem. Sources estimate that poor air quality costs the United States alone over $78 billion dollars annually in health care costs related to both chronic and terminal illnesses. Unfortunately, despite the very real impacts air pollution has on our lives, it often goes unnoticed because it is largely invisible. In addition, because government-run air quality monitoring networks are sparse, publicly available air quality measurements don't translate into an accurate assessment of personal exposure.
In 2011, HabitatMap launched the AirCasting platform (www.aircasting.org). AirCasting is an open-source, end-to-end solution for collecting, displaying, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. The platform consists of wearable sensors that detect changes in your environment and physiology, including a palm-sized air quality monitor called the AirBeam, the AirCasting Android app, the AirCasting website, and wearable LED accessories. By documenting and leveraging health and environmental data to inform personal decision-making and public policy, the AirCasting platform empowers citizen scientists and changemakers. With over 1,500 AirBeams in use worldwide and more than 200 million data points, the AirCasting platform is one of the largest open-source databases of community-collected air quality measurements ever created. Community based organizations, educators, academics, regulators, and citizen scientists around the world use the AirBeam to measure, map, stream, and crowdsource PM2.5 measurements.
Michael Heimbinder—Founder & Executive Director of HabitatMap—is a community organizer, educator, and information designer. HabitatMap is a non-profit environmental health justice organization whose goal is to raise awareness about the impact the environment has on human health. HabitatMap primarily works with low-income communities in New York City that are negatively impacted by the inequitable geographic distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. HabitatMap's online mapping and social networking platforms, HabitatMap.org and www.aircasting.org, are designed to maximize the impact of community voices on city planning and strengthen ties between organizations and activists working to build greener, more livable cities. Since launching HabitatMap in 2006, Michael has worked with dozens of community-based organizations and schools to create planning and advocacy maps that publicize the issues they care about most. In addition to running HabitatMap, Michael is Board Chair at Newtown Creek Alliance, where he has made community knowledge sharing a keystone of the organization's successful efforts to clean up the Creek and improve quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods.