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Monitoring Chemicals in Outdoor Air

Fresh Air clips were used to explore levels of airborne chemicals in cities globally. Explore findings with the interactive dashboard below.

Fresh Air Clip Technology

Developed by the Pollitt Lab at the Yale School of Public Health, the Fresh Air Clip is an air quality monitoring device that enables all individuals to collect information about their exposure to many pollutants in the air. The low-cost, lightweight device is a passive sampler, meaning it collects chemicals in the air that come into contact with a silicone rubber film contained in the clip. Fresh Air Clips can be hung at an outdoor monitoring site for several days. After the assessment period, the Fresh Air Clip is then returned to the Pollitt Lab for chemical analysis called gas chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry. This process lets the occurrence, distribution, and levels of thousands of chemicals collected by the Fresh Air clip to be assessed. The clip’s non-invasive, simple design has allowed this technology to be used internationally to monitor air quality.

Community Air Quality Monitoring

To explore the air quality across Europe, Fresh Air clips were hung at monitoring sites globally as part of a collaborative project called Operation Healthy Air. Airborne levels of chemical were assessed over a two-week period between 2021 and 2022. The chemicals detected by the clips in each city are displayed in the dashboard below. The levels of chemicals found in the air can be viewed for different cities, uses of the chemicals, impact on health.

Empowering Communities to Address Air Pollution

We are exposed to thousands of pollutants every day in the air. These chemicals can be released from many different sources such as combustion activities (vehicle exhaust, cooking, cigarette smoke, candles/incenses, and heating), personal care, cleaning products, and building materials. Findings from Operation Healthy Air are presented to empower community residents in participating cities to identify and understand the airborne chemicals they may be exposed to on a daily basis.