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air-quality

Outdoor air pollution, in the most extreme cases, can be immediately identified even without any special training. It casts a haze over cities, collects on streets and buildings, and provides dramatic fodder for the news. But while high drama is often a prerequisite for news about air quality to be reported, the real story is the health impacts that occur even when the air isn't thick enough to see. ## Introduction According to the [EPA](http://cfpub.epa.gov/eroe/index.cfm?fuseaction=list.listBySubTopic&ch=46&s=343), Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Most pollutants affecting indoor air quality come from sources inside buildings, although some originate outdoors. Typical pollutants of concern include **combustion products such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and environmental tobacco smoke; substances of natural origin such as radon; biological agents such as molds; pesticides; lead; asbestos; ozone (from some air cleaners); and various volatile organic compounds from a variety of products and materials**. This is even more striking when the health effects attributed to outdoor fine [particulate matter (PM2.5)](/wiki/particle-sensing) rank among the risk factors with the highest health impacts in the world, annually [accounting for over 3.2 million premature deaths](http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es2025752). In October 2013, the World Health Organization [announced](http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/pr221_E.pdf) they are considering particulate matter, a major component of indoor and outdoor air pollution, as a Group 1 carcinogen along with tobacco smoke and asbestos. ### Subtopics [wikis:parent:air-quality] **** ## Questions [questions:air-quality] **** ## Activities [activities:air-quality] ## Particle Sensing Projects Public Lab has initiated a [Particle Sensing Project](/wiki/particle-sensing) focused primarily on [Silica](/wiki/silica). This project overlaps with and includes the DustDuino and is coordinated on the [Air-Quality Google Group](/lists). A variety of particle sensors have been posted on the site: [wikis:particle-sensor] ## DustDuino [DustDuino ](http://publiclab.org/wiki/dustduino)can help individuals with limited resources monitor PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations, indoors or outdoors. It uses Shinyei PPD42NS, a $15USD optical sensor that uses an LED and a lens to determine the concentration of dust in a partially closed chamber that draws in air from its surroundings. ### Cypress Hills Air Quality (CHAQ) Initiative In 2013, this 8 week [Air Quality Class](http://publiclab.org/wiki/air-quality-class) was created for middle-schoolers in the Cypress Hills Air Quality (CHAQ) Initiative, with support from the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region2.html">United States Environmental Protection Agency</a>'s program "Citizen Science: Community Involvement Today and in the Future". This project was a collaboration with the <a href="cypresshills.org">Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation</a>. <a href="/people/jmsaavedra">Joe Saavedra</a> and <a href="/people/liz">Liz Barry</a> are the Public Laboratory facilitators. <a href="/people/georgiabullen">Georgia Bullen</a>, <a href="/people/yeb">Yael</a>, and <a href="people/jlipshin">Jason Lipshin</a> are involved from MIT. ### Air Column Monitor The [air column monitor project](http://publiclab.org/wiki/air-column-monitor) is from the April 2012 EcoHackII at Parsons in NYC, which brought together a group of developers, "scientists", data visualizers and activists to work on the initial design. ### Roomba Indoor Air Quality Mapping This tool is being developed to experiment with visually [mapping indoor air quality](http://publiclab.org/wiki/roomba-indoor-air-quality-mapping). A Roomba--the room cleaning vacuum--is programmed to travel all around a room once it is left to roam. **** ## Resources ### U.S. EPA Standards and Test Methods ### National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) Section 109 of the Clean Air Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) requisite _to protect public health_ with an adequate margin of safety (primary standard) and _for the protection of public welfare_ (secondary standard). Section 109(d)(1) of the CAA requires EPA to complete a thorough review of the NAAQS at _5-year intervals_ and promulgate new standards when appropriate. Complete details of the standards, measurement principles, and data interpreation, can be found in [Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 50](http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title40/40cfr50_main_02.tpl) [Summary of the NAAQS Criteria Pollutants](http://www.epa.gov/air/criteria.html) [![EPANAAQS.gif](https://i.publiclab.org/system/images/photos/000/005/670/medium/EPANAAQS.gif)](https://i.publiclab.org/system/images/photos/000/005/670/original/EPANAAQS.gif) ### EPA Test Methods EPA approved instruments are designated as either a Federal Reference Method (FRM) or Federal Equivalent Methods (FEM). The complete list of approved instruments for NAAQS evaluating is provided on the EPA [Ambient Monitoring Technology Information Center (AMTIC) web site](http://www.epa.gov/ttn/amtic/criteria.html) ### Real Time Data EPA and its State and Tribal partners publish near real-time air quality data (typically hourly updates) as well air quality _forecasts_ on the [AirNow web site](http://airnow.gov/). The AirNow site also contains, links to [Visibility Cameras](http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.webcams), which are yet another way to evaluate air pollution. Examples of clear and hazy days from [Boston HazeCam](http://www.hazecam.net/camsite.aspx?site=boston): [![boston.jpg](https://i.publiclab.org/system/images/photos/000/005/671/medium/boston.jpg)](https://i.publiclab.org/system/images/photos/000/005/671/original/boston.jpg) ### Historical Data Historical air quality test results are freely available through [EPA AirData](http://www.epa.gov/airdata/) ### EPA & Citizen Science Next Generation of Monitors EPA has also been involved with [Next Generation Air Measuring](http://epa.gov/research/airscience/next-generation-air-measuring.htm) and is currently offering its Citizen Science Toolbox Resources online: - Air Sensor Guidebook; - Air Sensor Technology: State of the Science Presentation; - Mobile Sensors and Applications for Air Pollutants; and - Sensor Evaluation Report. ## Other Resources for Air Quality Standards The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and its **National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)** also offer a wealth of guidance. In particular, the [NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods](http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2003-154/) is a collection of procedures for sampling and analysis of contaminants including workplace air. The **Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)**, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Their [Toxicological Profiles](http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/index.asp#P), is particularly useful for when a pollutant can be identified by compound or element. ## Wikis All wiki pages relating to air quality: [wikis:air-quality]

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