What I want to do or know
Air quality of my town and differences in air quality at a fine scale during bike commutes and training rides. Help show the real impacts at a local scale from our car dependent culture and to help shed light on the air quality issues effecting our children!
Health effects for those living in near busy roadway environments are substantial - roughly 50% or more increased risk of childhood asthma, cardiovascular mortality, lung cancer mortality and several 100% increased risk of autism spectrum disorders for those living within 50 meters as compared with those living a kilometer away in the same communites. The most likely causal agents are fresh ultrafine particles which are substantially elevated for several minutes, or several hundred meters, depending on meteorology and presence or absence of spatial traps. Most of the ultrafine particles in these very near roadway environments are 5 to 25 nanometers in effective diameter. They are not subject to gravity - that is they diffuse - but they can evolve very quickly, blending into the regional air pollution milieu. If inexpensive monitors are used to try to get a handle on these near source gradients - such as Shenyei for particles or NOx monitors (active real time or passive time integrated) - it is a good idea to try to calibrate with bench quality instruments to the extent possible. Even moderate quality instruments, however, may be useful as guides to relative concentrations in different micro environments. In post industrial economies, regional fine particle (diameters measured in micrometers) and near roadway ultrafine particle (diameters measured in nanometers) impacts are larger than all other environmental health burdens combined. The near source transportation pollutant patterns have a strong enviromental justice geographic skew.
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