Project at a Glance

Title: Development of the UCB-L Particle Monitor: for future California applications in environmental justice

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Smith, Kirk

Contractor: UC Berkeley

Contract Number: 06-321

Research Program Area: Health & Exposure

Topic Areas: Ambient Air Quality Stds, Environmental Justice, Toxic Air Contaminants, Vulnerable Populations


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 μg/m3 and the resolution better than 1 μg/m3. The BAIRS accurately sized 0.49 μm 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.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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