Abstract: Neighborhood level air pollution represents a long-standing issue for many communities that, until recently, has been difficult to address due to the cost of equipment and lack of related expertise. Changes in available technology and subsequent increases in community-based participatory research (CBPR) have drastically improved the ability to address this issue. However, much still needs to be learned as these types of studies are expected to increase in the future. To assist, we review the literature in an effort to improve understanding of the motivations, approaches, and outcomes of air monitoring studies that incorporate CBPR and citizen science (CS) principles. We found that the primary motivations for conducting community-based air monitoring were concerns for air pollution health risks, residing near potential pollution sources, urban sprawl, living in “unmonitored” areas, and a general quest for improved air quality knowledge. Studies were mainly conducted using community led partnerships. Fixed site monitoring was primarily used, while mobile, personal, school-based, and occupational sampling approaches were less frequent. Low-cost sensors can enable thorough neighborhood level characterization; however, keeping the community involved at every step, understanding the limitations and benefits of this type of monitoring, recognizing potential areas of debate, and addressing study challenges are vital for achieving harmony between expected and observed study outcomes. Future directions include assessing currently unregulated pollutants, establishing long-term neighborhood monitoring sites, performing saturation studies, evaluating interventions, and creating CS databases.

Source: Commodore, A., Wilson, S., Muhammad, O. et al., 2017. Community-based participatory research for the study of air pollution: a review of motivations, approaches, and outcomes. Environ Monit Assess 189: 378. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-017-6063-7