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      Youth Engaged Participatory Air Monitoring: A ‘Day in the Life’ in Urban Environmental Justice Communities

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          Abstract

          Air pollution in Southern California does not impact all communities equally; communities of color are disproportionately burdened by poor air quality and more likely to live near industrial facilities and freeways. Government regulatory monitors do not have the spatial resolution to provide air quality information at the neighborhood or personal scale. We describe the A Day in the Life program, an approach to participatory air monitoring that engages youth in collecting data that they can then analyze and use to take action. Academics partnered with Los Angeles-based youth environmental justice organizations to combine personal air monitoring, participatory science, and digital storytelling to build capacity to address local air quality issues. Eighteen youth participants from four different neighborhoods wore portable personal PM 2.5 (fine particles <2.5 µm in diameter) monitors for a day in each of their respective communities, documenting and mapping their exposure to PM 2.5 during their daily routine. Air monitoring was coupled with photography and videos to document what they experienced over the course of their day. The PM 2.5 exposure during the day for participants averaged 10.7 µg/m 3, although the range stretched from <1 to 180 µg/m 3. One-third of all measurements were taken <300 m from a freeway. Overall, we demonstrate a method to increase local youth-centered understanding of personal exposures, pollution sources, and vulnerability to air quality.

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          Most cited references 57

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          A review of citizen science and community-based environmental monitoring: issues and opportunities.

          Worldwide, decision-makers and nongovernment organizations are increasing their use of citizen volunteers to enhance their ability to monitor and manage natural resources, track species at risk, and conserve protected areas. We reviewed the last 10 years of relevant citizen science literature for areas of consensus, divergence, and knowledge gaps. Different community-based monitoring (CBM) activities and governance structures were examined and contrasted. Literature was examined for evidence of common benefits, challenges, and recommendations for successful citizen science. Two major gaps were identified: (1) a need to compare and contrast the success (and the situations that induce success) of CBM programs which present sound evidence of citizen scientists influencing positive environmental changes in the local ecosystems they monitor and (2) more case studies showing use of CBM data by decision-makers or the barriers to linkages and how these might be overcome. If new research focuses on these gaps, and on the differences of opinions that exist, we will have a much better understanding of the social, economic, and ecological benefits of citizen science.
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            A review and evaluation of intraurban air pollution exposure models.

            The development of models to assess air pollution exposures within cities for assignment to subjects in health studies has been identified as a priority area for future research. This paper reviews models for assessing intraurban exposure under six classes, including: (i) proximity-based assessments, (ii) statistical interpolation, (iii) land use regression models, (iv) line dispersion models, (v) integrated emission-meteorological models, and (vi) hybrid models combining personal or household exposure monitoring with one of the preceding methods. We enrich this review of the modelling procedures and results with applied examples from Hamilton, Canada. In addition, we qualitatively evaluate the models based on key criteria important to health effects assessment research. Hybrid models appear well suited to overcoming the problem of achieving population representative samples while understanding the role of exposure variation at the individual level. Remote sensing and activity-space analysis will complement refinements in pre-existing methods, and with expected advances, the field of exposure assessment may help to reduce scientific uncertainties that now impede policy intervention aimed at protecting public health.
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              Environmental justice: human health and environmental inequalities.

              In this review, we provide an introduction to the topics of environmental justice and environmental inequality. We provide an overview of the dimensions of unequal exposures to environmental pollution (environmental inequality), followed by a discussion of the theoretical literature that seeks to explain the origins of this phenomenon. We also consider the impact of the environmental justice movement in the United States and the role that federal and state governments have developed to address environmental inequalities. We conclude that more research is needed that links environmental inequalities with public health outcomes.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                21 December 2019
                January 2020
                : 17
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Division of Environmental Health, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA; zullyaj@ 123456g.ucla.edu (Z.J.); wgutscho@ 123456usc.edu (W.G.)
                [2 ]LA Grit Media, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA; sandy@ 123456lagritmedia.com
                [3 ]Communities for a Better Environment, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA; ashley@ 123456cbecal.org
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: jillj@ 123456usc.edu ; Tel.: +1-323-442-1099
                Article
                ijerph-17-00093
                10.3390/ijerph17010093
                6981490
                31877745
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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