A black carbon sensor can fill a large-scale monitoring gap.

AethLabs microAeth MA350. Credit: Ath Labs

Black carbon is the most dangerous air pollutant you’ve never heard of. Its two main sources, diesel emissions and wood smoke from forest fires and home heating, produce ultrafine particulate matter that is 25 times more harmful per unit of particulate matter than other types of particulate matter.

Despite its threat, black carbon is underestimated due to a lack of monitoring tools. Regulatory standard sensors are expensive to deploy and maintain, resulting in limited coverage in areas notorious for poor air quality, such as greater Salt Lake City. In Utah

A University of Utah-led study found that the AethLabs microAeth MA350, a portable, more affordable sensor, records black carbon concentrations as accurately as the Aerosol Magi Scientific AE33, all for real-time black carbon monitoring. It is the most used tool.

Researchers placed the portable technology alongside existing regulatory sensors at the Bountiful Utah Division of Air Quality site from August 30, 2021, to August. 8, 2022. AethLabs technology recorded almost identical amounts of black carbon at daily, monthly and seasonal times. The authors also showed that microethn can distinguish between wildfire and traffic sources as well as AE33 over long timescales.

Because black carbon remains close to the source, the instruments must be localized to obtain accurate readings. The portability of the MicroEth sensor will allow for monitoring at remote or inaccessible stationary sites as well as for mobile use.

“Taking better care of black carbon exposure in different regions is an environmental justice issue,” said Daniel Mendoza, research assistant professor of environmental sciences at the University of Utah and lead author of the study. “The Westside of the Salt Lake Valley has some of the worst air quality in the region because it’s closest to the pollution sources, but we don’t have the ability to accurately measure black carbon concentrations. Reliable and robust. “Democratizing data with sensors is an important first step in protecting all communities from dangerous air pollution.”

It was a study. published Journal on February 1, 2024 Sensor.

In the dark

Black carbon pollution is a type of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a class of air particles small enough to be inhaled into the lungs and absorbed into the bloodstream. Black carbon is true soot, produced when hydrocarbons do not burn completely, and has been shown to migrate into the heart, brain, fetal tissue, and other biological systems.

“A collection of growing wildfires And continued population growth along the Wasatch Front in the coming decades will result in new pollution challenges that Utah will face,” said Eric, assistant professor of environmental science at West Texas A&M University and co-author of the study. “The portable MA350 ‘micro’ aethalometer can be used to build an improved spatial observation network of accurate but low-cost black carbon sensors across the region,” said Crosman.

Although research suggests that exposure to black carbon is 10 to 25 times more dangerous to respiratory and cardiovascular health than other PM2.5, the long-term health consequences are largely unknown. An accurate surveillance network is the first step in establishing disease risk and creating effective public health policies. The research, funded by the Salt Lake City Corporation, aims to help those areas. Establish a black carbon allocation baseline.

“It is critical that we target our measurements to identify the largest and most relevant dark carbon sources,” said study co-author Drew Hill. and applied research work at AethLabs. “We’ve added a feature rooted in physical principles to provide real-time estimates of the amount of measured black carbon produced by burning wood compared to burning fossil fuels to help researchers and policymakers better control such sources. Triangulation may be allowed.”

After establishing the accuracy and regional compatibility of the portable sensor, the researchers are measuring Surfaces around the Salt Lake Valley, including testing concentrations inside school buildings.

“First, you need to get readings. In some neighborhoods you can look at the air quality, then look at the rates of cancer or other diseases in that neighborhood,” said Mendoza, of pulmonary medicine. There is also an assistant professor in the division. at the University of Utah Health. “Having measurements with a high degree of precision, we can now really think about health and policy approaches to protect everyone’s lung health.”

More information:
Daniel L. Mendoza et al., Long-Term Comparison Between AethLabs MA350 and Aerosol Magee Scientific AE33 Black Carbon Monitors in the Greater Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area, Sensor (2024). DOI: 10.3390/s24030965

Provided by
University of Utah

Reference: Black carbon sensor could fill massive monitoring gap (2024, February 22) Accessed 22 February 2024 at https://phys.org/news/2024-02-black-carbon-sensor-massive-gaps.html Obtained from

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