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Using low-cost sensor technologies and advanced computational methods to improve dose estimations in health panel studies: results of the AIRLESS project

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-989
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number6
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2020
PublishedNov 2020

King's Authors


Background: Air pollution epidemiology has primarily relied on fixed outdoor air quality monitoring networks and static populations. Methods: Taking advantage of recent advancements in sensor technologies and computational techniques, this paper presents a novel methodological approach that improves dose estimations of multiple air pollutants in large-scale health studies. We show the results of an intensive field campaign that measured personal exposures to gaseous pollutants and particulate matter of a health panel of 251 participants residing in urban and peri-urban Beijing with 60 personal air quality monitors (PAMs). Outdoor air pollution measurements were collected in monitoring stations close to the participants’ residential addresses. Based on parameters collected with the PAMs, we developed an advanced computational model that automatically classified time-activity-location patterns of each individual during daily life at high spatial and temporal resolution. Results: Applying this methodological approach in two established cohorts, we found substantial differences between doses estimated from outdoor and personal air quality measurements. The PAM measurements also significantly reduced the correlation between pollutant species often observed in static outdoor measurements, reducing confounding effects. Conclusions: Future work will utilise these improved dose estimations to investigate the underlying mechanisms of air pollution on cardio-pulmonary health outcomes using detailed medical biomarkers in a way that has not been possible before.

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