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Article

Accurate, Low Cost PM2.5 Measurements Demonstrate the Large Spatial Variation in Wood Smoke Pollution in Regional Australia and Improve Modeling and Estimates of Health Costs

Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
Atmosphere 2020, 11(8), 856; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11080856
Received: 14 July 2020 / Revised: 7 August 2020 / Accepted: 8 August 2020 / Published: 13 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regional Air Quality Modeling)
The accuracy and utility of low-cost PM2.5 sensors was evaluated for measuring spatial variation and modeling population exposure to PM2.5 pollution from domestic wood-heating (DWH) in Armidale, a regional town in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, to obtain estimates of health costs and mortality. Eleven ‘PurpleAir’ (PA) monitors were deployed, including five located part of the time at the NSW government station (NSWGov) to derive calibration equations. Calibrated PA PM2.5 were almost identical to the NSWGov tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) and Armidale Regional Council’s 2017 DustTrak measurements. Spatial variation was substantial. National air quality standards were exceeded 32 times from May–August 2018 at NSWGov and 63 times in one residential area. Wood heater use by about 50% of households increased estimated annual PM2.5 exposure by over eight micrograms per cubic meter, suggesting increased mortality of about 10% and health costs of thousands of dollars per wood heater per year. Accurate real-time community-based monitoring can improve estimates of exposure and avoid bias in estimating dose-response relationships. Efforts over the past decade to reduce wood smoke pollution proved ineffective, perhaps partly because some residents do not understand the health impacts or costs of wood-heating. Real-time Internet displays can increase awareness of DWH and bushfire pollution and encourage governments to develop effective policies to protect public health, as recommended by several recent studies in which wood smoke was identified as a major source of health-hazardous air pollution. View Full-Text
Keywords: wood smoke; low cost sensors; calibration; health costs; spatial variability; PM2.5 wood smoke; low cost sensors; calibration; health costs; spatial variability; PM2.5
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MDPI and ACS Style

Robinson, D.L. Accurate, Low Cost PM2.5 Measurements Demonstrate the Large Spatial Variation in Wood Smoke Pollution in Regional Australia and Improve Modeling and Estimates of Health Costs. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 856. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11080856

AMA Style

Robinson DL. Accurate, Low Cost PM2.5 Measurements Demonstrate the Large Spatial Variation in Wood Smoke Pollution in Regional Australia and Improve Modeling and Estimates of Health Costs. Atmosphere. 2020; 11(8):856. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11080856

Chicago/Turabian Style

Robinson, Dorothy L. 2020. "Accurate, Low Cost PM2.5 Measurements Demonstrate the Large Spatial Variation in Wood Smoke Pollution in Regional Australia and Improve Modeling and Estimates of Health Costs" Atmosphere 11, no. 8: 856. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11080856

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