Topic Areas:

Manuscript Keywords:

Community Air monitoring, Sensors, Community-Engaged Research, Air Quality, Particulate Matter, Community Science

Community Keywords:

Why is this useful?

This regulatory network does not allow many residents to understand their local air quality, and its data are of limited use in identifying air pollution hotspots or examining other local trends. Furthermore, there has been historical mistrust of government air quality data by the community, primarily driven by observed disconnects between the reported air quality and what residents experience, compounded by a perceived lack of access to the data.


Michelle Wong 1,*, Esther Bejarano 2 , Graeme Carvlin 3 , Katie Fellows 3 ID , Galatea King 1 , Humberto Lugo 2 , Michael Jerrett 4 , Dan Meltzer 1 ID , Amanda Northcross 5 , Luis Olmedo 2 , Edmund Seto 3 , Alexa Wilkie 1 and Paul English


Air pollution continues to be a global public health threat, and the expanding availability of small, low-cost air sensors has led to increased interest in both personal and crowd-sourced air monitoring. However, to date, few low-cost air monitoring networks have been developed with the scientific rigor or continuity needed to conduct public health surveillance and inform policy. In Imperial County, California, near the U.S./Mexico border, we used a collaborative, community-engaged process to develop a community air monitoring network that attains the scientific rigor required for research, while also achieving community priorities. By engaging community residents in the project design, monitor siting processes, data dissemination, and other key activities, the resulting air monitoring network data are relevant, trusted, understandable, and used by community residents. Integration of spatial analysis and air monitoring best practices into the network development process ensures that the data are reliable and appropriate for use in research activities. This combined approach results in a community air monitoring network that is better able to inform community residents, support research activities, guide public policy, and improve public health. Here we detail the monitor siting process and outline the advantages and challenges of this approach.


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