Performance and Feasibility of Low-Cost Air Sensors for Community and Occupational Exposure Assessment
thesisposted on 2020-12-01, 00:00 authored by Saisattha Noomnual
Air quality monitoring has been shifted to more miniaturized and low-cost sensors. These low-cost sensors enhance the ability to understand air quality in a wide range of spatial and temporal conditions; in addition to advancing personal exposure assessment studies. However, there are several challenges in employing low-cost sensors, including the development of sensors producing high-quality data and the evaluation of sensor performances in environmental and occupational settings. The present study examined the performance of low-cost air sensors in environmental and occupational settings and the performance of these sensors against EPA monitors. The inter- and intra-sampler variability of these sensors were assessed in order to gain an understanding of their reliability for future exposure assessment studies. The feasibility of employing these sensors with participation of citizen scientists was determined. The findings demonstrate that it is feasible to employ the low-cost sensors for local air quality assessment and personal exposure characterization in support of citizen science projects, when the citizen scientists are properly trained on how to operate and interact with the sensors. The collocation study demonstrated that all investigated low-cost sensors had a very high degree of precision and sufficient accuracy in obtaining air pollutant concentrations at various locations to assess the relative air quality. The low-cost sensors should not be used for compliance assessment; however, they are very useful tools in determining the hot spots, and for public education, outreach, and advocacy efforts. The low-cost sensors were observed to be impacted by the temperature and humidity. This suggested more collocated studies in diverse temporal and spatial conditions to fill the knowledge gap of the sensor performance in different locations in order to develop more appropriate and representative correction algorithms for specific locations. Moreover, the findings highlighted the significance of implementing the effective Train-the-Trainer approach in support of community-based research air monitoring projects empowering citizen scientists to perform local air quality assessment for addressing their public health concerns pertaining to air quality in their environments.