2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Evaluating the Utility of Cost-Effective, Consumer-Grade, Wearable Air Monitoring Devices Under Mock Occupational Conditions: Wildfire Smoke and Impact Testing

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Luke Montrose


In the Pacific Northwest, wildfires are growing in size and frequency. Firefighters are spending more time fighting fires increasing the risk for exposure to fine particulate --also called particulate matter sized 2.5 microns or small (PM 2.5 ) -- which is a component of wood smoke and can cause serious health effects. There is limited real-time data on PM 2.5 exposures among wildland firefighters due to the cost and size of research-grade monitors. Thus, we want to evaluate the utility of cost-effective, wearable units under mock wildland firefighting conditions. Here, we test 2 brands of consumer-grade, real-time air monitoring devices and compare the data with a research-grade device. We will present data from two tests; a wood smoke test and an impact test. The wood smoke test will be conducted in a controlled environment where relevant concentrations of smoke will be held for 1-hour “plateaus”. The smoke test will demonstrate accuracy and reliability. For the impact test, we will drop each brand from a consistent height demonstrating durability. The results of this pilot will establish if such cost-effective, wearable air monitoring units can be used for data collection in a wildland firefighting setting, which could ultimately help mitigate occupational health risks.

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