Development of the UCB-L Particle Monitor (For Future California Applications in Environmental Justice)

This page last reviewed May 19, 2011

ARB Research Seminars

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm, PDT
Sierra Hearing Room, Second Floor
1001 I Street, Sacramento

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Development of the UCB-L Particle Monitor
(Future California Applications in Environmental Justice)

Kirk R. Smith, Ph.D.

School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

As the public becomes more knowledgeable about air pollution and its effect on health, local community-based air pollution monitoring projects have become more important.  Community members and groups want to protect themselves from localized exposures to high concentrations of particulates, and require high quality, low cost, simple to use instruments.  Ambient aerosol monitoring commonly requires either expensive or difficult to use instrumentation with lab backup. This study modified a low cost, simple and accurate optical commercial particle counter, the Dylos™, and evaluated its use as an ambient fine particulate monitor.  The preliminary name of  the prototype device is the Berkeley Aerosol Information Recording System (BAIRS). Based on lab an ambient monitoring, the limit of detection of the BAIRS is less than 1 g/m3 and the resolution better than 1 g/m3.  The BAIRS accurately sized 0.49 m particles, and is able to count particles of varying composition including organic, inorganic, and ambient particles.  It is also robust, and able to measure concentrations up to 1.0 mg/m3.  The project funding ended before development of multiple field-capable devices could be built and deployed, which should be the next step in evaluation for use by non-technical community groups.

Kirk R. Smith, Ph.D., is Professor of Global Health and is also founder and coordinator of the campus-wide Masters Program in Global Health and Environment at the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. Previously, he was founder and head of the Energy Program of the East-West Center in Honolulu, where he still holds appointment as Adjunct Senior Fellow in Environment and Health after moving to Berkeley in 1995. He serves on a number of national and international scientific advisory committees including the Global Energy Assessment, National Research Councils Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate, the Executive Committee for WHO Air Quality Guidelines, and the International Comparative Risk Assessment. He participated along with many other scientists in the IPCC’s 3rd and 4th assessments and thus shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He hold visiting professorships in India and China and bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees from UC Berkeley and. in 1997, was elected member in the US National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors awarded to US Scientists by their peers. In 2009, he received the Heinz Prize in Environment.  Dr. Smith’s research focuses on environmental and health issues in developing countries, particularly those related to health-damaging and climate-changing air pollution from household energy use, and includes field measurement and health-effects studies in India, China, Nepal, Mexico, and Guatemala as well as development and application of tools for international policy assessments.

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