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Four Technologies Used in Air Quality Monitoring

Breathing fresh air is essential in maintaining a person’s health and well-being. Research has shown that it can help reduce cardiopulmonary diseases and respiratory illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and lung cancer.

In addition, it helps prevent cognitive and infertility issues.    

Unfortunately, polluted air affects up to 90% of the global population, according to the World Health Organization. Government and private-sector-run health agencies work together to approach this global problem proactively. 

One such initiative is continuous air quality monitoring and developing devices with raw materials from KNF USA and other manufacturers. These devices can help scientists detect all forms of air pollution. 

These technologies help humans measure air quality in different settings.  

1. Federal Reference Method and Federal Equivalent Method Monitoring Equipment 

The Federal Reference Method (FRM) and the Federal Equivalent Method (FEM) are the scientific community’s gold standards in air quality monitoring. FRM’s design follows the stringent air quality monitoring criteria of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

FRM and FEM applications are used in monitoring air pollutants considered harmful to public health by the US National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQSs).

These pollutants include particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide, to name a few. More and more facilities are using these methods to monitor air quality. 

FRM and FEM are reliable systems that generate high-quality data. Most organizations use these methods as bases for other air quality monitoring technologies.

As such, the monitoring results from these established systems form the bases of data-driven decision-making, including policy formulations and other legislative activities that impact everyone.  

2. Mobile Air Quality Monitors

Mobile air quality monitors often cover data gaps, which can cater to cities and municipalities too far away from the FEM and FRM equipment.

As its name implies, this air quality monitoring scheme involves mounting lighter and more portable devices on or inside a vehicle.

This technology can gather data from several points and uses high spatial resolution, which means more details are captured even at a smaller grid size. 

While able to collect data in more places than fixed monitors, this method may fail to present reliable data because of time constraints. Mobile monitors must constantly move, making the result too varied to establish a pattern or trend.

With appropriate planning, though, this is more likely to be fulfilled. 

For instance, London’s ultra-low emission zones (ULEZ) project, which seeks to prevent health issues caused by unhealthy air, uses this method to monitor air quality. The initiative aims to prevent one million hospital admissions by 2050.

It has reduced almost 50% of nitrogen dioxide pollution within the project site.  

3. Low-Cost Sensors 

Low-cost stationary air quality sensors have broad use and functionalities. Some original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sensors often use electrochemical, metal oxide, and optical sensors and have limited to zero data processing capabilities. 

When placed in strategic areas, these sensors can measure temperature and humidity.

These devices can spot the presence of dust particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide, and other air pollutants.

Meanwhile, hospital waste gas exposure can lead to acquired infections and other symptoms. Healthcare facilities need continuous air quality monitoring, adequate ventilation, and waste gas scavenging systems to prevent illnesses.   

Some air quality tracking devices integrate one or more OEM sensors into the system. The tool itself may have data management features.

There’s a proposal to use the Internet of Things and similar sensor-dependent technologies to measure air quality. If pursued, they can help track and maintain indoor air quality, especially among vulnerable populations in healthcare facilities.

4. National Aeronautics and Space Station’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and TROPospeheric Monitoring Instrument

The government likewise monitors air quality from space using National Aeronautics and Space Station (NASA) satellites and technologies.

Despite being done from aboveground and covering expansive areas, these methods tap ground-based data for a better air quality assessment.       

For instance, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), which measures the photosynthetic activities of land and phytoplankton, can estimate the volume of greenhouse gasses absorbed during the process.

As such, it can help track and monitor pollution incidents and patterns globally.       

Meanwhile, TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) is an ozone-monitoring device that can measure atmospheric gases’ absorption of hazardous gases, including formaldehyde, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

It can monitor air pollution, enabling the government and private sectors to establish methods that mitigate its effects on public health. 

Conclusion 

Monitoring air quality is everyone’s concern, considering the health-damaging effects of air pollution.

Technological integrations have expanded the use and access of various air quality tracking devices and applications. 

With a proactive approach to reducing air pollution, air quality monitoring can be helpful.

However,  more than just measuring, institutions must implement specific solutions to limit their impact on human health and survival. 

Image by TakeActiononRadon from Pixabay


The editorial staff of Medical News Bulletin had no role in the preparation of this post. The views and opinions expressed in this sponsored post are those of the advertiser and do not reflect those of the Medical News Bulletin. Any Web sites linked from Medical News Bulletin site are created by organizations outside of Medical News Bulletin and are the sole responsibility of those organizations. These links are strictly provided by Medical News Bulletin as a convenience to you for additional information only. Medical News Bulletin does not approve or endorse the content on any third-party Web sites and is not responsible for the content of linked third-party sites or third-party advertisements, as well as does not make any representations regarding their content or accuracy. Your use of third-party web sites is at your own risk and subject to the terms and conditions of use as per such sites policies. Medical News Bulletin does not provide specific medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and hereby disclaims any assumption of any of the obligations, claims or liabilities..

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