Abstract: A wearable monitor that can reliably, accurately, and continuously measure personal exposure levels of various toxicants would not only accelerate the current environmental and occupational health and safety studies, but also enable new studies that are not possible with the current monitoring technology. Developing such a monitor has been a difficult challenge, and requires innovative sensing science and creative engineering. We have developed, built, and tested a wearable monitor for real-time detection of toxic hydrocarbons and acids in the environment. The monitor is low-cost, accurate, and user friendly. In addition, it can communicate wirelessly with a cell phone in which the monitoring results can be processed, displayed, stored, and transmitted to a designated computer. We have validated the functions and performance of the monitor, and carried out field tests with workers involving waste management, fire overhaul, and floor-cleaning activities, as well as with first- and second-hand smokers. The averaged exposure levels are in agreement with those determined by the standard NIOSH methods. The monitor provides accurate and real-time exposure assessment for the workers involving different activities. The real-time and continuous monitoring capability makes it possible to correlate the exposure levels with different activities and changes in the microenvironments. The monitor provides unprecedented real-time information that will help advance occupational safety and environmental health studies. It may also be used to better protect workers from occupational overexposure to toxic molecules.
Template and target information: volatile organic compounds, VOCs