Friday, January 5, 2024

Environmental: Air Quality Monitoring, CHEMExpo, and Exposures. EPA.

With wildfires growing in size and frequency, it is increasingly important to gain a better understanding of the effects of particulate matter on public health. While air pollution has mostly been associated with negative effects on lung and heart health, there are gaps in knowledge on how it affects brain health. EPA researchers are now using game apps to broaden our knowledge of brain function in the presence of wildfire smoke. Read Fighting the Haze: Effects of Wildfire Smoke and Particulate Matter on Brain Function

Are you interested in starting a community air monitoring project using air sensors? EPA researchers have released a helpful resource for you: the Enhanced Air Sensor Guidebook. The Guidebook identifies best practices for using air sensors and provides recommendations for planning and implementing a study to save time, effort, and money and ultimately help users collect useful data. Read EPA Researchers Update the Air Sensor Guidebook.

During wildfires, the cost and availability of clean air technologies can create challenges for people trying to protect their health from wildfire smoke. EPA and other health, environmental, and nonprofit organizations have provided instructions for creating do-it-yourself (DIY) air cleaners. DIY air cleaners are a more affordable and accessible alternative to commercial versions and can be constructed using a box fan and a high-efficiency home air filter. Read Do-It-Yourself Air Cleaners: Making Cleaner Air More Accessible.

Toxic plumes created by large-scale burns such as industrial catastrophes or wildland fires can be devastating for communities and the environment. With the help of drones, EPA researchers can test emissions concentrations using aerial devices, increasing the accuracy of their models and the reach of their sensors. Understanding how emission concentrations change in burn scenarios helps EPA and others protect communities and the environment in emergency combustion situations. Read The Future of Emissions Testing is Looking Up: How EPA is Using Drones to Test Air Quality

EPA released a beta version of ChemExpo, a free search and visualization tool for exploring chemical use data relevant to exposure assessment. This interactive web application focuses on data collected by EPA about how chemicals are used in commerce and how they occur in consumer and industrial products. Read ChemExpo Knowledgebase: A New Way to Explore Chemical Use Information.

As interest in local air quality increases, so does the demand for air sensors—the smaller, lower cost, non-regulatory technologies that measure air quality. However, air sensors are not always accessible to everyone. EPA worked with the Los Angeles Public Library to start a pilot air sensor loan program to provide the local community with access to air sensors and guidance on using them. Read Air Sensor Loan Programs: Promoting Air Quality Education by Bringing Sensors to You!

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are widely used, long lasting chemicals, and have been found in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the nation and the globe. There are thousands of different types of PFAS chemicals and each of them may respond differently to the same type of water treatment technology. EPA researchers are evaluating how effective different water treatment technologies are at removing PFAS from drinking water. Read Predicting How Effective Water Filters are at Removing a Variety of PFAS. 

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