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Your Environment. Your Health.

Novel In-Home Air Pollution Sensor for Community-Based Research

Gary Adamkiewicz, Ph.D.
Harvard University
P50MD010428, T32ES007069

NIEHS grantees developed a low-cost, portable, in-home air sampling platform to characterize indoor pollutants. They highlighted the resources and maintenance considerations necessary to support community-based research goals.

Compared with previous indoor platforms, the Environment Multi-pollutant Monitoring Assembly (EMMA) tool developed by the grantees presented a relatively quiet, nonintrusive model for in-home sampling that did not distract participants from daily activities and was easily placed into main living spaces.

Although the sensors successfully collected real-time measurements for more than 18 months, the researchers experienced issues with maintenance of EMMA components. They found that costs of sensor maintenance were low upfront but increased with study duration. They also found that achieving quality low-cost sensor data required resources that were not available in communities without support from scientific groups.

According to the authors, development of high quality and affordable real-time sensors provides new opportunities to conduct research and inform individuals or communities on daily health risks. However, they emphasized that lower cost sensors should be placed with caution because of financial and resource costs that greatly exceed sensor costs. They also found that community-based participatory research strategies and collaboration between scientific and nonscientific groups could produce optimal data.

Citation: Gillooly SE, Zhou Y, Vallarino J, Chu MT, Michanowicz DR, Levy JI, Adamkiewicz G. 2019. Development of an in-home, real-time air pollutant sensor platform and implications for community use. Environ Pollut 244:440–450.

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