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Harnessing Sensor and Information/Communication Technologies to Revolutionize How Environmental Data are Collected and Integrated to Protect Public Health

Authors
MacDonell, Margaret (Argonne National Laboratory)
Search for Margaret MacDonell in Research Programmes Information System
Raymond, Michelle (Argonne National Laboratory)
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Young-Soo, Chang (Argonne National Laboratory)
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Armbruster, Walt (Farm Foundation)
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Chapter Environmental Assessment and Health
Volume Proceedings of the 27th Conference on Environmental Informatics - Informatics for Environmental Protection, Sustainable Development and Risk Management
Conference Environmental Informatics and Renewable Energies
Hamburg, 2013
Year 2013
Abstract of the Article
Monitoring the levels of pollutants in ambient air has long been the responsibility of environmental agencies, and
traditional programs have relied on a relatively small number of fixed stations that are expensive to install and
operate. The spatial coverage of pollutant data ranges from limited in many urban areas to very sparse in smaller
suburban and rural areas. Increasingly, the latter are being affected by new pollutant sources such as backyard
drilling systems for energy development, and concentrated animal feeding operations and biodiesel production
facilities on former agricultural lands. Regional measurement stations are not able to inform local communities
about the types and concentrations of pollutants in their ambient and indoor air. Meanwhile, epidemiology studies
and clinical data continue to indicate a link between air pollutants and adverse health effects, including respiratory
and cardiovascular disease. With asthma on the rise and heart disease among the leading killers, the public has
become increasingly concerned about knowing what their personal exposure levels are so they can determine
appropriate measures to protect their health.
To address this long-standing need, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has embarked upon an
innovative program to improve the understanding of air pollution at the community and neighborhood scales. This
program harnesses striking advances in sensor technology, mobile applications, and environmental informatics, with
citizens playing a key role. The goal is to facilitate the development and widespread use of inexpensive mobile
sensors, for widespread collection and integration of air quality data by citizens across the nation (and world), to help
guide environmental health protection programs.
Pages 877 - 878
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