Frequently Asked Questions from EPA's Community Air Monitoring Training Event, July 2015

Where can I find the "Sensor User Guidebook"?

See: Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists

Does EPA provide a list of vendors who sell the monitoring equipment?

No. EPA cannot promote any commercial product. In addition, new devices are being developed rapidly and it is beyond our ability to fully report all such equipment.

Can you talk more about the verification process?

Air quality data verification is a complex process. Detailed information about this process can be obtained in the Quality Assurance Handbook for Air Pollution Measurement Systems: "Volume II: Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Program posted on EPA's Quality Assurance Guidance Documents web page.
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How might one start a public lab to test air quality at critical points in an area and establish baseline data?

Information provided during the July 9, 2015 EPA Community Air Monitoring Training Event provides useful suggestions as a starting point. Establish a study design and define the air pollutants you wish to monitor and the instrumentation needed to collect the necessary information. The study design process walks you through who needs to be involved, the type of data that needs to be collected, and the ultimate goal of your efforts.

Does the July 9, 2015, EPA Community Air Monitoring Training event webinar provide information on exposure factors that might influence indoor air quality monitoring considerations?

We recognize that many factors impact indoor air quality, and some of our previous peer review research provides useful information on monitoring regardless of the types of instrumentation being used.

What types of research require review for human subject safety?

All federally funded research involving data collection from human participants must be reviewed for a wide variety of considerations. Similar review procedures must be followed by academic and medical institutions. Information regarding human studies research is available on the Basic Information about Human Subjects Research web page. 
See: Basic Information about Human Subjects Research

Is there going to be a Technical Assistance Document (TAD) for use of air sensors for citizen scientist?

Not at this time.

Do any of the lower cost sensors discussed in the July 9, 2015, EPA Community Air Monitoring Training Event and available for citizens to use meet regulatory requirements for data collections?

Air quality monitors suitable for regulatory-quality data collections must meet very exacting standards of performance. No lower cost sensors like those discussed in the webinar currently meet these strict data quality and performance requirements. Information about current instrumentation requirements may be obtained on the Ambient Monitoring Technology Information Center (AMTIC) web page.

Can EPA develop standards for acute, episodic exposures to air pollutants?

EPA uses the best science available in setting national ambient air quality standards as well as developing Air Quality Index health advisories. EPA regularly reviews standards for the common (criteria) air pollutants and considers all aspects of those standards, including the exposure period.
See: Air Quality Index

Were the webinar presentations at the July 9, 2015, recorded, and are they posted online?

See: Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists

Can you discuss funding opportunities that might be available to support citizen science?

See: Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists

It would appear there are data quality considerations involving low cost air quality sensors. Do they offer any value to potential users?

Yes. EPA is investing in understanding citizen science opportunities and providing tools to citizens to assist them in their efforts. During the July 9, 2015, EPA Community Air Monitoring Training Event, information was shared regarding positive aspects of next generation air monitoring technologies, as well as data quality considerations that users should be aware of when using lower cost sensors.
See: Community Air Monitoring Training Event

Don't all manufacturers have to provide information about the performance of their monitoring device?

Manufacturers of regulatory monitors do have to provide this information. There is no reporting requirement for the low cost sensors discussed in the July 9, 2015 EPA Community Air Monitoring Training Event.

Don't all air quality sensors collect information on relative humidity and temperature as part of their basic operation?

No. Many lower cost air quality monitoring devices do not collect relative humidity and temperature data. 

Will descriptions of the citizen science projects associated with attendees of the July, 9 2015, EPA Community Air Monitoring Training 

Yes. EPA will be sharing this information on the Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists web page.
See: Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists

What reference materials on particulate matter (PM) are being used in low cost monitoring calibrations?

Most of the lower cost PM sensors described in the July 9, 2015 EPA Community Air Monitoring Training Event use light scattering as the primary aerosol detection method. A wide variety of factors can influence light scattering and the resulting sensor response. These include the size of the aerosol as well as its composition. Direct collocation of a light scattering device with a true gravimetric (mass) measurement is one approach EPA researchers and others have employed to establish a calibrated response from low cost sensors. 

Is the Village Green Project information available on the web?

Information on the Village Green Project, a community-based activity to demonstrate the capabilities of new real-time monitoring technology for residents and citizen scientists, is available on the Village Green Project web page.
See: Village Green Project

Technical Contact:

Ron Williams (