Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Micro-Environmental Monitoring

A nephelometer installation at Acadia National...
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Monitoring of long-term personal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) (9 page pdf, Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, Apr. 23, 2010)

Advances in air quality monitors:  accuracy, portability and allied technologies to locate the observations (GIS and GPS) have progressed to the point where it is possible to continuously monitor personal exposure to air pollution over significant time periods and short time intervals. In today’s review article, the results of such “micro-environmental” monitoring is analyzed with some surprises as to the impact of a few high intensity periods notably in association with wood-burning stoves or a smoking environment indoors or close to traffic outdoors.

Key Quotes:

“A battery-operated, fast-responding nephelometer [(DustTrakTSI model 8520) ]was worn by the individual for a period of 10 months, recording PM2.5 concentration every 5 min..Since no important industrial sources are present in Prague or in its close surroundings, traffic is considered the main source of PM in the urban and suburban region of this city”

“Of the total time monitored, 84.3% was spent indoors, 10.6% outdoors, and 5.1% in transit.”

“both the indoor and outdoor PM2.5 concentrations exhibited high variability and that the averages are affected by extremely high values, again in the indoor and, to a certain extent, also in the outdoor microenvironments.”

“We also recorded high concentrations and high exposures in indoor microenvironments with traditional stoves burning wood and coal. Peak PM2.5 events belong to the highest of all 5-min concentration intervals included in our dataset”

“The overall average of the year-long measurement was 14.9±52.5 µg.m−3 .. The highest PM2.5 average concentration was detected in restaurant microenvironments (294.4 µg.m−3),.The lowest mean aerosol concentrations were detected outdoors in a rural/natural environment (7.0 µg.m−3) and indoors at the monitored person's home (9.3 µg.m−3).”

Advantages of personal monitoring:

  1. "personal samplers are smaller, pollutant specific, more accurate, and able to run for longer time than previously;

  2. sophisticated methods of surveying, such as GPS and GIS, allowing tracking of the movement of the target individual, are well-established and accessible;

  3. an ever-increasing number of specific and sensitive biomarkers can be used together with new methods for their detection and analysis; and

  4. comprehensive databases of human activity are available for use in epidemiological studies”

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