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Open AccessArticle

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

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Division of Environmental Health, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
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LA Grit Media, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
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Communities for a Better Environment, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010093
Received: 20 November 2019 / Revised: 12 December 2019 / Accepted: 18 December 2019 / Published: 21 December 2019
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 PM2.5 (fine particles <2.5 µm in diameter) monitors for a day in each of their respective communities, documenting and mapping their exposure to PM2.5 during their daily routine. Air monitoring was coupled with photography and videos to document what they experienced over the course of their day. The PM2.5 exposure during the day for participants averaged 10.7 µg/m3, although the range stretched from <1 to 180 µg/m3. 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: youth; environmental health; citizen science; community science; environmental justice; air pollution; participatory air monitoring; low-cost sensors youth; environmental health; citizen science; community science; environmental justice; air pollution; participatory air monitoring; low-cost sensors
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Johnston, J.E.; Juarez, Z.; Navarro, S.; Hernandez, A.; Gutschow, W. Youth Engaged Participatory Air Monitoring: A ‘Day in the Life’ in Urban Environmental Justice Communities. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 93.

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