Workshop A: Air Pollution, Traffic and Exercise

This workshop lead 50 people on 5 different walking tours surrounding The California Endowment conference center. Equipped with citizen level air pollution sensors including P-traks (measuring ultrafine particulate matter), AirBeams (measuring fine particulate matter), and an introduction to collecting traffic pollution data, the groups were off, passing by landmarks such as Union Station, Far East Plaza, and El Pueblo Los Angeles Historical Monument.

Map of walking tour routes during the April 17, 2017 workshop.

During each walking tour, groups captured data on particulate matter and how pollution levels changed depending on traffic patterns and weather conditions.

Upon returning from the walking tours, Dr. Rima Habre, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at USC, made a presentation and led a discussion about what the groups had observed during their walking tours. She helped groups interpret these “other factors” and gave participants some information about how they might analyze and interpret their data given that data can have variability across monitoring devices of the same model.

In addition to the walking tours, the workshop featured displays of monitoring activities done in the community by the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma (LBACA). LBACA member and environmental justice activist Maria Reyes along with Director Sylvia Betancourt showcased their community projects using the P-trak ultrafine particulate matter air monitor sensors.

Staff members from the Air Quality Sensor Performance Evaluation Center at the South Coast Air Quality Management District were also on hand to answer questions about the research and results they have performed around testing a variety of air quality sensors.

Special thanks to Dr. Habre, Scott Chan, Program Director of Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement, and the AQMD-SPEC team for lending their expertise to community scientists and the USCEHC Community Engagement team for planning!

Below are some resources we used to develop the content for this workshop and during the walking tours:

Dr. Rima Habre’s Presentation: Air Pollution, Traffic and Exercise

Information about AirBeam monitoring devices used on the walking tours. AirBeams measure PM 2.5: fine particulate matter. USCEHC has recently begun incorporating AirBeams into their Community Engagement work. They are low cost ($250.00 USD) devices that are display pollution and other related data on a smart phone app in real-time. The AQ-SPEC has published a summary report of their laboratory and field testing of the AirBeam.

For an example of Air Beam data collected during our walking tour on April 17, 2017, click on the map below.

USC Environmental Health Centers, Air pollution walking tour using AirBeam. April 17, 2017
USC Environmental Health Centers, Air pollution walking tour using AirBeam. April 17, 2017

AQSPEC (Air Quality Sensor Performance Evaluation Center)- Evaluates commercially available low cost air quality sensors, performing a through characterization under lab and field conditions