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Air quality monitoring sensors: importance, emerging trends and challenges

Update: 2019-11-22 17:32 Source: LUFTMY

Air quality affects human health

Heart disease, lung disease, stroke and increased mortality have been clearly linked to air quality, particularly particulate matter concentrations (PM 2.5) and other standard pollutants.The World Health Organization (who) estimates that outdoor air pollution causes about 4.2 million premature deaths every year.It is estimated that more than 90% of the world's population lives in places where the air pollution level exceeds the WHO standard.

These statistics increase investment in air monitoring and mitigation plans.The machines the government now uses for air quality monitoring cost thousands of dollars to buy, not to mention trained resources to maintain and record data output.Fortunately, with the development of technology, more and more low-cost sensors are available in the market.

Low cost sensor: cost vs accuracy

There are low-cost sensors for monitoring the air quality of individuals, households, businesses and communities. Although a single sensor can only monitor one pollutant, there are also sensors for particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

It is expected that in the future, air quality data will come from various sources, not just from government monitoring.The advantage of this is that you can use big data to track a wide range of trends and perform other complex analyses.However, the data quality of low-cost sensors varies greatly.The validity and accuracy of many low-cost sensors are unknown because they do not currently meet any national standards.

What do these numbers mean?

Data from low-cost sensors face two challenges, the first is accuracy, and the second is the ability of users to interpret data. A person without an air quality background can read the number, but without context, it's hard to understand what it means, whether it's good or bad, or what other potential factors exist.

Durable, long life, sustainable

The performance of any air quality sensor will be affected by weather conditions, such as heat, humidity and extreme cold, which will affect data quality.Sensor drift is also a well-known phenomenon, which can be adjusted and corrected by regular calibration.Some of the new low-cost sensors cannot be calibrated and are actually disposable, with recommended expiration dates.

The future of air quality monitoring

In fact, low-cost air quality sensors and high-precision, adjustable sensors have a place in the future air monitoring.Both have positive and negative relationships, but they play an increasingly important role in our joint efforts to ensure that all people can breathe air safely.

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