Special Issue "Low-Cost Sensors for Environmental Research and Public Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tom Cole-Hunter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Science and Engineering Faculty, School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane City QLD 4000, Australia
Interests: air pollution; energy transition; environmental health; pacific island countries; physical activity; sustainable transport; climate change
Prof. Dr. Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
ISGlobal, Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Barcelona, Spain
Interests: urban and transport planning and health; air pollution; noise; temperature; green space; physical activity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A Special Issue on “Low-Cost Sensors for Environmental Research and Public Health” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is being organized.

Determinants of environmental quality, such as air pollution, heat, and noise, are a major environmental threat to public health. For example, millions of people around the world have a lower quality of life, or may die earlier than they should, due to traffic-related emissions. Moreover, air pollution, noise and heat can be produced inside the home and outside in the region by the modern necessity for energy, transport and waste management.

Environmental quality is particularly relevant in economically developing countries, which are challenged with less access to clean fuels and technology, or the weaker regulation of environmental laws. Even in economically developed countries, exposure to air pollution, noise or heat may not be equal for all citizens, with some residences or workplaces being closer to emission sources or heat “islands” than others that are also less adequately monitored.

The advent and development of low-cost environmental sensors have brought about a myriad of opportunities for studying and improving public health. Due to their low cost, they are accessible to a wider audience, yet also pose unique challenges in data quality and control. In the right hands, and with due care, they can help to answer questions on air pollution, noise, heat, public health, and environmental justice among under-represented countries or neighborhoods.

For this Special Issue, we are seeking high-quality contributions from all around the world on ground-breaking research and novel applications of low-cost sensors for environmental monitoring and public health. We also welcome reviews, methodological papers, evaluations, best practices, and critical analysis. We invite contributors from areas of academia, practice, policy and education.

Keywords

  • low-cost sensors
  • air pollution
  • noise; heat
  • environment
  • citizen science
  • community engagement
  • public health

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Using Low-Cost Sensors to Assess Fine Particulate Matter Infiltration (PM2.5) during a Wildfire Smoke Episode at a Large Inpatient Healthcare Facility
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9811; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18189811 - 17 Sep 2021
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Abstract
Wildfire smoke exposure is associated with a range of acute health outcomes, which can be more severe in individuals with underlying health conditions. Currently, there is limited information on the susceptibility of healthcare facilities to smoke infiltration. As part of a larger study [...] Read more.
Wildfire smoke exposure is associated with a range of acute health outcomes, which can be more severe in individuals with underlying health conditions. Currently, there is limited information on the susceptibility of healthcare facilities to smoke infiltration. As part of a larger study to address this gap, a rehabilitation facility in Vancouver, Canada was outfitted with one outdoor and seven indoor low-cost fine particulate matter (PM2.5) sensors in Air Quality Eggs (EGG) during the summer of 2020. Raw measurements were calibrated using temperature, relative humidity, and dew point derived from the EGG data. The infiltration coefficient was quantified using a distributed lag model. Indoor concentrations during the smoke episode were elevated throughout the building, though non-uniformly. After censoring indoor-only peaks, the average infiltration coefficient (range) during typical days was 0.32 (0.22–0.39), compared with 0.37 (0.31–0.47) during the smoke episode, a 19% increase on average. Indoor PM2.5 concentrations quickly reflected outdoor conditions during and after the smoke episode. It is unclear whether these results will be generalizable to other years due to COVID-related changes to building operations, but some of the safety protocols may offer valuable lessons for future wildfire seasons. For example, points of building entry and exit were reduced from eight to two during the pandemic, which likely helped to protect the building from wildfire smoke infiltration. Overall, these results demonstrate the utility of indoor low-cost sensors in understanding the impacts of extreme smoke events on facilities where highly susceptible individuals are present. Furthermore, they highlight the need to employ interventions that enhance indoor air quality in such facilities during smoke events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low-Cost Sensors for Environmental Research and Public Health)
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Article
Indoor Air Quality in Domestic Environments during Periods Close to Italian COVID-19 Lockdown
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4060; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084060 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1129
Abstract
This paper describes the in situ monitoring of indoor air quality (IAQ) in two dwellings, using low-cost IAQ sensors to provide high-density temporal and spatial data. IAQ measurements were conducted over 2-week periods in the kitchen and bedroom of each home during the [...] Read more.
This paper describes the in situ monitoring of indoor air quality (IAQ) in two dwellings, using low-cost IAQ sensors to provide high-density temporal and spatial data. IAQ measurements were conducted over 2-week periods in the kitchen and bedroom of each home during the winter, spring, and summer seasons, characterized by different outside parameters, that were simultaneously measured. The mean indoor PM2.5 concentrations were about 15 μg m−3 in winter, they dropped to values close to 10 μg m−3 in spring and increased to levels of about 13 μg m−3 in summer. During the winter campaign, indoor PM2.5 was found mainly associated with particle penetration inside the rooms from outdoors, because of the high outdoor PM2.5 levels in the season. Such pollution winter episodes occur frequently in the study region, due to the combined contributions of strong anthropogenic emissions and stable atmospheric conditions. The concentrations of indoor volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and CO2 increased with the number of occupants (humans and pets), as likely associated with consequent higher emissions through breathing and metabolic processes. They also varied with occupants’ daily activities, like cooking and cleaning. Critic CO2 levels above the limit of 1000 ppm were observed in spring campaign, in the weeks close to the end of the COVID-19 quarantine, likely associated with the increased time that the occupants spent at home. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low-Cost Sensors for Environmental Research and Public Health)
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