Air Pollution Monitoring

for Health Research and Patient Care

+ Kevin Cromar


Air quality data from satellites and low-cost sensor systems, together with output from air quality models, have the potential to augment high-quality, regulatory-grade data in countries with in situ monitoring networks and provide much-needed air quality information in countries without them. Each of these technologies has strengths and limitations that need to be considered when integrating them to develop a robust and diverse global air quality monitoring network. To address these issues, the American Thoracic Society, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences convened a workshop in May 2017 to bring together global experts from across multiple disciplines and agencies to discuss current and near-term capabilities to monitor global air pollution. The participants focused on four topics: 1) current and near-term capabilities in air pollution monitoring, 2) data assimilation from multiple technology platforms, 3) critical issues for air pollution monitoring in regions without a regulatory-quality stationary monitoring network, and 4) risk communication and health messaging. Recommendations for research and improved use were identified during the workshop, including a recognition that the integration of data across monitoring technology groups is critical to maximizing the effectiveness (e.g., data accuracy, as well as spatial and temporal coverage) of these monitoring technologies. Taken together, these recommendations will advance the development of a global air quality monitoring network that takes advantage of emerging technologies to ensure the availability of free, accessible, and reliable air pollution data and forecasts to health professionals, as well as to all global citizens.

Authors: Kevin R. Cromar, Bryan N. Duncan, Alena Bartonova, Kristen Benedict, Michael Brauer, Rima Habre, Gayle S. W. Hagler, John A. Haynes, Sean Khan, Vasu Kilaru, Yang Liu, Steven Pawson, David B. Peden, Jennifer K. Quint, Mary B. Rice, Erika N. Sasser, Edmund Seto, Susan L. Stone, George D. Thurston, and  John Volckens.

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Kevin Cromar, Ph.D., is a program director at the Marron Institute of Urban Management and an Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine and Population Health at New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

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