Yesterday, I got an email from a friend telling me that a webinar on Citizen Science was underway, held by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
I jumped online, just in time to hear Ron Williams‘ presentation on the Citizen Science Toolbox, and I am glad I did!
Ron is a scientist with the U.S. EPA National Exposure Research Laboratory, and an expert on human exposures to complex environmental mixtures.
Ron’s presentation was very informative. He showed a slide of the Citizen Science Air Monitor (above) one of which was recently installed at the Ironbound Community Corporation in Newark, NJ, and shared a lot of useful information.
A few key takeways for me:
- The CSAM is a completely automated, turnkey system.
- The Office of Research and Development tests almost every potential citizen science air monitoring device that comes on the market.
- Many don’t work or don’t work properly, and few come with necessary information on their limitations (such as operating temperature) or with good instructions.
- The EPA provides feedback on the monitors to the manufacturers, and they have been improving them.
- Many Particulate Matter monitors need shielding from light, or return erroneously high PM readings.
- EPA is testing currently testing a number of low-cost monitors in Denver and Atlanta.
- Most inexpensive air quality monitors have an operational life of about a year, because the sensors degrade over time.
- They are also building their own monitors.
For more information:
- NIEHS was kind enough to send us Ron’s presentation, and the others presented during the webinar, which we’ve posted in the MFN Library.
- There are lots of resources on the EPA Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists website.
- Ron has recorded a podcast on DIY Air Quality Monitoring.
- Check out the webinar NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) web site.