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Environ Pollut. 2019 Jan;244:440-450. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.10.064. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

Development of an in-home, real-time air pollutant sensor platform and implications for community use.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address: sagilloo@hsph.harvard.edu.
2
Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.
3
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA; Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
5
Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

Air pollution exposure characterization has been shaped by many constraints. These include technologies that lead to insufficient coverage across space and/or time in order to characterize individual or community-level exposures with sufficient accuracy and precision. However, there is now capacity for continuous monitoring of many air pollutants using comparatively inexpensive, real-time sensors. Crucial questions remain regarding whether or not these sensors perform adequately for various potential end uses and whether performance varies over time or across ambient conditions. Performance scrutiny of sensors via lab- and field-testing and calibration across their lifetime is necessary for interpretation of data, and has important implications for end users including cost effectiveness and ease of use. We developed a comparatively lower-cost, portable, in-home air sampling platform and a guiding development and maintenance workflow that achieved our goal of characterizing some key indoor pollutants with high sensitivity and reasonable accuracy. Here we describe the process of selecting, validating, calibrating, and maintaining our platform - the Environmental Multi-pollutant Monitoring Assembly (EMMA) - over the course of our study to-date. We highlight necessary resources and consider implications for communities or researchers interested in developing such platforms, focusing on PM2.5, NO, and NO2 sensors. Our findings emphasize that lower-cost sensors should be deployed with caution, given financial and resource costs that greatly exceed sensor costs, but that selected community objectives could be supported at lesser cost and community-based participatory research strategies could be used for more wide-ranging goals.

KEYWORDS:

Air pollution monitoring; Citizen science; Indoor air pollution; Lower-cost sensor technology; Sensor calibration

PMID:
30359926
PMCID:
PMC6250577
DOI:
10.1016/j.envpol.2018.10.064
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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