Public Lab Research note

Research area review on air quality

by bhamster | October 20, 2020 16:37 20 Oct 16:37 | #24777 | #24777

Image: Foto-Rabe, CC0.

For the next research area review on Public Lab, we'll examine air quality...well, part of it! Air quality is one of the richest and most extensively-researched topics on Public Lab, so for this review, we're going to focus on areas that give an overall sense of air quality monitoring to people brand new to the topic. Read on for more details.

What's the purpose of the review?

We'll update the air quality wiki page and create new material on Public Lab so that newcomers can know where to begin in air quality monitoring and advocacy. The goal is to give extra context to the many monitoring tools that exist and are already well-documented on Public Lab.

What will we do in the review to reach this goal?

As in previous reviews, we'll turn to, other online resources, and conversations with people sharing their knowledge and experiences to synthesize information on:

  • Getting started in air quality research, including a general overview of what you can monitor and how.
  • What you can do after using air quality monitoring tools, like how to find an environmental testing lab that's a good match for your project.
  • Examples of advocacy that can follow air quality data collection, and issues with equity in air monitoring.
  • Next step challenges in air quality monitoring.

...and more as we uncover new information and challenges.

When will we do the review?

Over the next couple months until mid-December 2020. Over that time, we'll have opportunities to share resources and challenges, and to learn and synthesize together.

Why did we choose air quality?

There are lots of exciting activities in air quality monitoring already underway, including @kgradow1's fantastic Bucket Monitor project and current investigations by community members. We hope the review and new material resulting from it will broadly support these projects and anyone else who is interested in monitoring air quality in their community.

What are some ways to help or follow along?

  • Do you have knowledge, experiences, or stories to share on air quality monitoring, tool development, or advocacy? Please comment below to join our review!
  • Do you want to follow updates on this review? Subscribe to air-quality and research-area-review and receive updates about new posts.
  • Stay tuned for news about events that we'll hold in November and December.


This is so exciting! Tagging odor logging work by @imvec and @sarasage as well as obviously @nshapiro on indoor air quality and formaldehyde and @pat on frac sand and silica dust.

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Love this topic! Just in time for the 50th year of the Clean Air Act in the US.

Recommend this film --> Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air "This film is a timely, powerful look at fifty years of the Clean Air Act and the challenges we still face to ensure healthy air for everyone. Weaving historical milestones with current day stories of environmental injustice, the film is an excellent tool for educational and community engagement.

This 30-minute film premieres at a critical time. Asthma is the number one health issue for children, and recent research links air pollution to higher cases and deaths from COVID-19. Environmental regulations and enforcement of existing laws are being stripped away..."

More about the film and screenings listed here:

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