Every day, millions of workers head to their jobs and breathe any number of airborne chemicals, particles or vapours, all of which may or may not be affecting their health.
Carter and Volckens are joined by an experienced team of engineers and social scientists who will help refine the successful adoption and deployment of the technology.
The team is now developing a lightweight, inexpensive, wearable air pollution monitor for aerosol and vapor hazards like a commercial smartphone is now ready to use out of the box and requires only minimal user training.
Once they’ve created the devices, the researchers are planning to test them on several hundred workers in various industries – from emergency responders to product manufacturers and also oil and gas drillers.
The workers, who participate voluntarily in the study will help the scientists piece together one of the most complete pictures of occupational air quality to date.
The new device will be a smaller, lighter version of the UPAS, explained Carter, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering who has studied the effects of air pollution policies in China.
Carter said that the technology development part is very exciting and drew him to this project. He also added: The iterative design and test process is so much fun and has an energy to it that I am excited to be a part of.
Moreover, engaging with social scientists will help the technology achieve broader impact and also allow the engineers to develop something that can scale to a commercial level, Carter said.
One of the team’s social scientists is Elizabeth Williams who is an associate professor in the CSU Department of Communication Studies, whose expertise is the intersection of organizational and health communication. With experience in conducting several health campaigns and also health and safety initiatives, Williams researches organizational processes that influence the health of individuals.
The team also includes Ander Wilson who is also an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics, whose expertise is in managing large environmental datasets.
Ashley Anderson, an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Communication, developed quantitative methods for effective survey data collection; and Marilee Long who is a professor in the same department whose expertise is ineffective health messaging.
The researchers hypothesize that their project will change worker- and organizational-level attitudes toward occupational hazard assessment and mitigation.
A primary goal of this project is to help workers gain the information they need to make decisions that protect themselves from the unseen hazards in the air around them.