Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Dust Alert' Invention Monitors Air Quality, Determines Chemical Composition Of Toxins

Date:
September 23, 2009
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Worried that dust from a nearby construction zone will harm your family's health? A new sensor from researchers in Israel, called 'Dust Alert', can help families and authorities monitor the quality of the air they breathe and precisely determine the chemical composition of toxins.

Worried that dust from a nearby construction zone will harm your family's health? A new Tel Aviv University tool could either confirm your suspicions or better yet, set your mind at rest.

Related Articles


Prof. Eyal Ben-Dor and his Ph.D. student Dr. Sandra Chudnovsky, of TAU's Department of Geography have developed a sensor called "Dust Alert" — the first of its kind — to help families and authorities monitor the quality of the air they breathe. Like an ozone gas or carbon monoxide meter, it measures the concentration of small particles that may contaminate the air in your home. Scientific studies on "Dust Alert" appeared recently in the journal Science of the Total Environment, Urban Air Pollution: Problems, Control Technologies and Management Practices.

"It works just like an ozone meter would," says Prof. Ben-Dor. "You put it in your home or office for three weeks, and it can give you real-time contamination levels in terms of dust, pollen and toxins." Functioning like a tiny chemistry lab, the device can precisely determine the chemical composition of the toxins, so homeowners, office managers and factories can act to improve air quality.

Using the measurements, Prof. Ben-Dor can sometimes find a quick remedy for a dusty or pollen-filled home. The solution could be as easy as keeping a window open, he says. "We've found through our ongoing research that some simple actions at home can have a profound effect on the quality of air we breathe."

Instant results

Based on a portable chemical analyzer called a spectrophotometer, the invention can be installed and begin to collect data within minutes, although several weeks' worth of samples produces the best assessment of air quality. The longer period allows for fluctuations in both internal and external environments, such as changing weather patterns.

The "Dust Alert" fills an important need. Polluted air, breathed in for weeks, months and sometimes years, can have fatal consequences, leading to asthma, bronchitis and lung cancer. With findings from Prof. Ben-Dor's invention, urban planners can provide better solutions and mitigate risks. "We can certainly give an accurate forecast about the health of a home or apartment for prospective home owners. If somebody in your family has an allergy, poor air quality can be a deal breaker," says Prof. Ben-Dor.

Prof. Ben-Dor's device may be most useful in the aftermath of disasters, such as chemical fires, heavy dust storms, hurricanes or tragedies like 9/11. Survivors of these situations are usually unaware of the lingering environmental problems, and the government can't do enough to protect them because no accurate tools exist to define the risk. Using a Dust Alert, residents could be advised to vacate their homes and offices until the dust has cleared, or to take simple precautions such as aerating hazardous rooms in a flat, suggests Prof. Ben-Dor.

Putting dust on the map

According to Prof. Ben-Dor, the Dust Alert could also be used by cities and counties to develop "dust maps" that provide detailed environmental information about streets and neighborhoods, permitting government authorities like the EPA to more successfully identify and prosecute offenders. Currently, for example, there is no system for demonstrating how construction sites compromise people's health.

"Until now, people have had to grin and bear the polluted air they breathe," says Prof. Ben-Dor. "The Dust Alert could provide crucial reliable evidence of pollution, so that society at large can breathe easier. We can see the dust on the furniture and on the windows, but most of us can't see the dust we breathe. For the first time, we are able to detect it and measure its more dangerous components."

With their dust maps, TAU scientists have already correlated urban heat islands with high levels of particulate matter, giving urban planners crucial information for the development of green spaces and city parks. Prof. Ben-Dor also plans to develop his prototype into a home-and-office unit, while offering customized services that can help people decode what's left in the dust.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "'Dust Alert' Invention Monitors Air Quality, Determines Chemical Composition Of Toxins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090922162303.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2009, September 23). 'Dust Alert' Invention Monitors Air Quality, Determines Chemical Composition Of Toxins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090922162303.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "'Dust Alert' Invention Monitors Air Quality, Determines Chemical Composition Of Toxins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090922162303.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) — Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) — A grand jury indicted four former executives of Freedom Industries, the company at the center of the Jan. 9, 2014 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia. The spill contaminated the Elk River and the water supply of 300,000 people. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins