Research Area Reviews Archive
Watch recordings and see shared resources from Public Lab’s past research area review events here
2021 Research Area Reviews
March 31, 2021: Soil contamination research area review
Our latest quarterly deep dive into research areas on Public Lab wrapped up with two public events on community science and soil contamination, attended by folx all over the world.
First, we shared highlights from our research area review on soil contamination, including activities to get started with investigating your soil, an overview of methods for testing and remediating polluted soil, and some next step challenges in tool development. People on the call also shared their questions, reflections, and local concerns on soil contamination.
A summary of the research area review on soil contamination is here, including some of the ongoing questions and challenges discussed on the call.
- LES Breathe in NYC: https://eastriverparkaction.org/breathe/
- Wateristic: an underwater bioluminescence detector: https://publiclab.org/wiki/wateristic-and-underwater-bioluminescence-detector
- Public Lab tag page for soil: https://publiclab.org/tag/soil
- Public Lab wiki page with background and resources on soil: https://publiclab.org/soil
- Public Lab wiki on soil remediation: https://publiclab.org/wiki/soil-remediation
- The "Healthy Soil Healthy Communities" project at Cornell has resources for urban gardeners with a focus on metals: https://blogs.cornell.edu/healthysoils/healthy-gardening/. They also have a handout on metals in urban soils: https://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/handle/1813/48147/Metals_Urban_Garden_Soils.pdf
Second! We had the great fortune to co-host a virtual tool demo with Jackie James (@jjcreedon) and Mike Rosenberg (@Mike_CSCR) of Citizen Science Community Resources, who showed us their Soil Sampling Toolkit. You can watch the recording and read a summary of the demo here.
2020 Research Area Reviews
December 16, 2020: Air quality research area review
Wrapping up Public Lab’s latest research area review on air quality, we held a virtual get-together on community air monitoring. We saw highlights of updated air quality resources on the Public Lab website, talked about local air monitoring projects across the US, and shared goals, questions, and tips with each other.
Joining us to share their ongoing projects and experiences in community air monitoring:
- @MsSema and @mashalawais, responding to the ITC fire in the Houston, TX area, by developing lower-cost, real-time monitors and a mobile alert system for benzene and other emissions from petrochemical facilities.
- Deborah Mills, Wendy Brawer, Veronica Olivotto, and Mary Jo Burke of LES Breathe: developing a community-run air monitoring, reporting, and remediation network in the Lower East Side of New York City.
- Gustavo Aguirre Jr., Kern County Director at the Central California Environmental Justice Network, with experience in Bucket Brigades, driving changes in air quality policy in California, and engaging youth in air quality monitoring.
- @eustatic of Healthy Gulf, focusing on particulate matter monitoring and interested in ways to prevent community burnout in the face of chronic issues, plus immediate remediation as part of FEMA responses.
- @kgradow1, @jjcreedon, and Ethan McMahon of the US EPA, also joined the call to share questions and ideas.
Check out a summary of the research area review on air quality here, including highlights of some of the ongoing questions and challenges discussed on the call.
- LES Breathe: https://eastriverparkaction.org/breathe/
- Denny Larson’s organizing legacy around bucket brigades: https://rosefdn.org/in-memoriam-denny-larson/
- Public Lab’s latest posts on air quality: https://publiclab.org/tag/air-quality
- Public Lab’s main wiki page on air quality: https://publiclab.org/air-quality
- Issue brief - “Benzene Air Monitors For Fenceline Communities” by @MsSema: https://publiclab.org/n/25090
- Issue brief - “Impacted Communities - Citizen Science in a "No Zoning" City from Strategy to Solutions” by @mashalawais: https://publiclab.org/n/25143
- More Background on the ITC fire in Deer Park, TX: https://www.sierraclub.org/texas/blog/2019/03/itc-disaster-and-what-could-be-air-and-water
- DIY air filters: https://publiclab.org/notes/Melissa/08-26-2015/inexpensive-hepa-filter-fan-project-to-reduce-air-pollution, and another approach meant to reduce strain on the fan: https://tombuildsstuff.blogspot.com/2013/06/better-box-fan-air-purifier.html
- EPA Air Sensor toolbox: https://www.epa.gov/air-sensor-toolbox
- South Coast Air Quality Management District's SPEC-AQ sensor testing program: http://www.aqmd.gov/aq-spec, and sensor evaluations (field/lab): http://www.aqmd.gov/aq-spec/evaluations
- ISeeChange app with Air Pollution investigation: https://www.iseechange.org/investigations/5749ffb4245032597e8c6445/
- EPA National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) maps with background on cancer risk from air pollution in your area: https://gispub.epa.gov/NATA/
- Community science soil testing: https://csresources.org/own-a-soil-sampling-toolkit/wj3w1zntelhqex1356dar6fyot667a
- Air quality database activity: https://publiclab.org/notes/bhamster/11-30-2020/comparing-air-quality-databases-a-fun-activity
- Emergency Response Management Website gives relative risk presented by facilities. E.g., map of Houston / Pasadena / Deer Park, and Port Arthur https://erma.noaa.gov/gulfofmexico/#/layers=3+10717+37899&x=-95.00123&y=29.64326&z=9.3&panel=legend
- TERC + Global Community Monitor (GCM) overview of how to set up a campaign: https://publiclab.org/notes/kgradow1/10-30-2020/statistics-for-action-air-quality-guide
- South Durban Community Environmental Alliance resource guide on identifying chemicals by smell: https://publiclab.org/notes/kgradow1/10-31-2020/smells-that-kill-how-to-identify-odours
- Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) study on benzene emissions after recent changes made to the Clean Air Act: https://www.environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Benzene-Report-2.6.20.pdf
- Coalition Against Death Alley in Louisiana: https://www.enddeathalley.org/
- Air Watch Bay Area: http://www.airwatchbayarea.org/#home
- CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University: https://cmucreatelab.org/home
September 23, 2020: Microplastics research area review
In this call that wrapped up Public Lab’s research area review on microplastics, twenty people spanning seven time zones gathered to talk about microplastics monitoring in their communities. We shared stories, asked and answered questions, saw a quick overview of accessible ways to get started in microplastics monitoring, and built connections with each other.
Joining us to share their experiences in microplastics research:
- Jace Tunnell, leader of Nurdle Patrol and Director of the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, University of Texas Marine Science Institute.
- Dr. Winnie Courtene-Jones, Lead Scientist for the Round the World research missions at eXXpedition and Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth, UK.
- David Boudinot and Daniel Brendle-Moczuk of the University of Victoria and Surfrider Foundation of Vancouver Island.
Check out this summary post of the event for more information on stories, questions, and topics that came up during the call, and this summary of the microplastics research area review that led up to it.
- National Estuarine Research Reserves: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/ecosystems/nerrs/
- Nurdle Patrol: https://nurdlepatrol.org/Forms/Home/
- How the Ocean Cleanup Array Fundamentally Misunderstands Marine Plastics and Causes Harm: https://discardstudies.com/2015/06/05/how-the-ocean-clean-up-array-fundamentally-misunderstands-marine-plastics-and-causes-harm/
- Operation Clean Sweep: https://www.opcleansweep.org/about/
- US EPA report, Plastic Pellets in the Aquatic Environment: Sources and Recommendations: https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPURL.cgi?Dockey=20004Y95.txt
- Story of Plastic: https://www.storyofplastic.org/
- Research team at the University of Plymouth: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/marine-litter
- Find ways to be part of the solution to plastic pollution with a free online platform: https://shift.how/
- Solidified Oil Spill campaign, Surfrider Foundation of Vancouver Island: https://vancouverisland.surfrider.org/solidified-oil-spill/
- Science journal cover story on plastic pollution: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6510/1455
- Upcoming open access journal on microplastics and nanoplastics: https://microplastics.springeropen.com/
- Diane Wilson and San Antonio Bay Estuarine waterkeeper's work: https://waterkeeper.org/news/report-shows-plastic-pollution-a-threat-to-texas-gulf-coast/
- Impacts of Plastic summit videos available inside the Campaign Network: https://bit.ly/impactsofplastic
- Map of reports of "plastic" to the US Coast Guard, USA, National Response Center, courtesy of Skytruth and the Gulf Monitoring Consortium: https://alerts.skytruth.org/issue/186-plastic (also check out this post from @eustatic for more details!)