University at Buffalo researcher tracks pollution with phones

In an effort to uncover exactly how much pollution people in urban areas are exposed to over time, researchers from the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York are utilizing interesting technology. Carole Rudra, UB assistant professor of social and preventive medicine, is using a smart phone app to track air pollution.

She received a two-year $440,247 grant from the National Institutes of Health in order to conduct the research.

"There are many ways to estimate air pollution exposures among humans," said Rudra. "Many current methods are based on participants' home addresses. These methods don't take into account the fact that people don't spend all day inside their homes."

For the study, 40 participants will use their own GPS-equipped smart phones, which will record their locations throughout the day over a three-month period.

"This project will develop a method that will improve our ability to estimate human exposures to air pollutants, and will improve public health by allowing researchers to more accurately measure human exposures and relate these exposures to health outcomes."

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