Identifying particulate matter concentrations using a new mobile data collection method in West Oakland, California

Quang Bui, Gregory Haynes, Vinh Le, Nasif Lockett, Tony Marks-Block, Tanika O�Guinn.

During the summer and fall of 2010 we tested a new method for analyzing Particulate Matter (PM) concentration levels in the West Oakland neighborhood of Oakland, California. This community is disproportionately impacted by multiple sources of particulate emissions stemming from its close proximity to a busy port, making it a high-risk area for community members with asthma and other ailments. Unlike more common studies of PM that involve the use of stationary equipment typically mounted near building tops, we made ground-level measurements using two different particle counters�a DustTrack II 8530 and a Fluke 983. We will be comparing our ground-level data with stationary data to see if this new approach yields different results.

Concentration levels were determined by making measurements of air samples collected throughout the neighborhood at various intersections. These measurements were later used to identify residential and commercial areas where higher than average concentrations of PM persist, as well as particular circumstances where unhealthy PM levels occur due to the passing of diesel-fueled trucks and/or other localized emission sources. Preliminary results indicate that typically, measurements made on streets with higher traffic flow yielded higher PM levels. For example, the intersection of 7th and Campbell streets had heavy truck traffic, high average levels of PM, and on numerous days had higher levels than other intersections in the neighborhood. However, significantly high PM levels were also discovered in predominantly residential areas with few obvious PM sources. Using our method of data collection we have been able to isolate street-level PM sources that a stationary and elevated instrument is unable to identify, which can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of PM distribution throughout different locations in impacted communities.

Please download the full PDF for map, graphs & figures, and cited works.