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EPA Research: July 18, 2017

Measuring Air Quality at the Street Level

Google Street View allows us to drop in and virtually walk the streets of small towns in the U.S., big cities across Europe, and many places in between. In a recent study, the cars were used for a different purpose—to measure local air quality. Air pollution in cities can change over short distances, meaning that the air quality and pollution on your street may be different from your neighbor who lives a few blocks away. Current fixed-site air pollution monitors used for regulation aren’t able to capture the variations in street level or hyperlocal level air quality. To address this research gap, EPA collaborated with the technology company, Aclima, on the company’s year-long study that equipped Google Street View cars with a mobile sensing platform to measure local air quality in the city of Oakland, California. Researchers found that the mobile air monitoring technology is effective in providing information on block-by-block urban air pollution patterns and could be used to inform future regulatory monitoring and air quality management decisions. EPA is working with Aclima as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to conduct research to advance measurement technologies. 

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Read Aclima’s news release and view their video.

Insights on EPA’s Efforts to Advance Chemical Screening

Making safety-related decisions on thousands of chemicals that may lack hazard and exposure data is challenging. In a recent article, EPA scientists Dr. Rusty Thomas and Dr. John Wambaugh describe these challenges and provide information on how EPA is developing faster and more economical approaches to predict potential health effects of thousands of chemicals, and how EPA is providing access to this data through online dashboards to support regulatory and policy decisions. The article summarizes EPA’s progress in assessing the chemistry, hazard, dose response, and exposure data for chemicals. 

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Request for Applications for $4 Million in Funding for Research on Lead in Drinking Water

Clean drinking water is essential to protecting human health. That’s why EPA has announced a request for applications for two grants totaling $4 million in funding for innovative research into detecting and controlling lead in drinking water. This funding focuses on research partnerships and collaborations with local communities that are potentially most vulnerable for exposures to lead in drinking water.

EPA is seeking applications that will propose research combining scientific fields to look at lead throughout the water distribution system, including lead found in a community’s water supply, issues with lead in water treatment and distribution, and the potential effects of lead on public health. EPA hopes this funding will result in data and models to help communities identify and remediate risks associated with lead in drinking water, as well as an improved understanding of data sampling protocols and factors influencing how different communities are exposed.