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Your Environment. Your Health.

Air Sensor Stories

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

September 24, 2018

air pollution

In response to the growing number of air quality sensors available on the market and to communities’ increasing interest in exploring local air quality and concerns about air pollution, NIEHS grantees developed an interactive workshop for audiences seeking to understand the potential benefits and challenges associated with using these sensors. Many community groups, individuals, and educators are interested in using these sensors but need guidance in selecting an appropriate device, developing a monitoring plan, and collecting and interpreting data. This workshop was developed to provide guidance to community audiences and to promote awareness of other existing resources (air sensor user guides, EPA’s Air Sensor Toolbox,, etc.).

This webinar gave participants a jumpstart in exploring the educational materials the grantees developed to help community audiences understand particle pollution and the potential value of user-friendly air particle sensors. The materials developed provide a basic introduction to the sources, regulations, and health effects of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), an overview of the many user-friendly models of air particle sensors on the market, and an interactive “Action Plan” guide to help participants apply what they have learned to their local community. Optional interactive activities are provided to further participants’ understanding of key concepts and how air particle sensors work. The workshop is designed to take between one and three hours, depending on the extent of discussion and how many hands-on activities are integrated.

This webinar discussed how these materials were developed by a collaboration between four NIEHS-supported community engagement cores and pilot tested with diverse community partners. It included a brief overview of the workshop materials themselves and guidelines for how they may be adapted for use with diverse audiences.

This project was supported by NIEHS grants to the University of Rochester (P30ES001247), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (P30ES010126), the University of Texas Medical Branch (P30ES006676), Columbia University (P30ES009089), and WE ACT for Environmental Justice.



Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Ph.D.

Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Ph.D., is the director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core at the University of Rochester’s Environmental Health Sciences Center. Her primary focus is addressing the environmental health information and policy needs of the communities in and around Rochester. She participates in many local partnerships, including the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning, the Rochester Healthy Homes Partnership, the Water Education Collaborative, and the Pollution Prevention Institute.

Kathleen Gray, Ph.D.

Kathleen Gray, Ph.D., is the director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility. She also manages UNC’s Environmental Resource Program, which strives to enhance public understanding of current environmental science and health research and its relevance to daily life, empowering North Carolinians to make informed decisions that protect the environment and public health.

John Prochaska, Dr.P.H.

John Prochaska, Dr.P.H., is an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He has broad expertise in environmental health disparities, cumulative risk assessment, program evaluation, community-engaged research, and use of Geographic Information Systems for determining and communicating environmental health risk.

Lubna Ahmed, M.P.H.

Lubna Ahmed, M.P.H., is director of environmental health at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Miami University and a master’s degree in environmental health science and policy from George Washington University. She served as an environmental education Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua, where she developed fluency in Spanish. She is passionate about working at the community level to build capacity and advance the sustainable well-being of underserved populations.

For More Information

Sensor Stories Workshop Materials
Register at this website to access the PowerPoint version of the workshop presentation discussed during this webinar, as well as participant and presenter feedback forms.

Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists, Researchers, and Developers
This U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website provides information for citizen scientists and others on how to select and use low-cost, portable air sensor technology and understand results from monitoring activities.
AirNow is a government website that highlights local air quality while providing air quality information at the state, national, and international level. An interactive map lets you zoom out to get the big picture or drill down to see data for a single air quality monitor.

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