What You’re Breathing, Right Now


Perhaps you’re aware of the air quality right outside your home.

Perhaps you’re aware of the air quality right outside your home. But that’s one data point. What’s the air inside your home when you wake up? Or on the mornings when you burn your toast? Perhaps you took a side street on the way to work, instead of the usual main road — how does that change things?

These are the microenvironments you encounter throughout the day. Getting a clear account of the quality of all these microenvironments — from one room to the next — ​would give us a much more thorough look at the air we’re each breathing from day to day, even hour to hour.

Drew Gentner, associate professor of chemical & environmental engineering and forestry & environmental studies, is currently at work on that now with a study that looks at the interiors of homes, workplaces, and vehicles, and out on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. In collaboration with researchers at Johns Hopkins University, his lab has set up a stationary air quality monitoring network that will measure more than 50 sites throughout the city, and enlisted 100 people for the study to wear portable air monitors, each for several days.

Read more at Yale University

Image: Gentner and a student researcher put the finishing touches on a stationary air sensor.  CREDIT: Yale University