The Geography of Pollution

Epidemiologists in recent years have developed an increasingly precise understanding of the relationship between exposure to airborne pollutants and a range of health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and asthma. What’s less well known is precisely where the air is most polluted.

Toronto, for example, has only four air-quality measurement stations providing real-time data, even though research shows that the concentration of pollutants such as nitrous oxide, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide can vary by orders of magnitude within an area spanning just a few city blocks.

To more precisely gauge pollution levels, Natalia Mykhaylova, a PhD candidate in chemical engineering, is developing an inexpensive air-quality monitor that could be deployed on utility poles across a city. Click here for full story.