The Urban Air Quality Laboratory

Urban Air Quality Lab

About the Lab

Dedicated to protecting clean air resources for local and global communities, the Urban Air Quality Laboratory monitors for air pollutants in real–time to measure air quality trends, allow advanced notice of unhealthy air quality, and inform the community of health risks.

The Urban Air Quality Laboratory is a part of the Environmental and Occupational Master of Public Health program within the UNLV School of Public Health.

Today's Air Quality

Outdoor air pollution takes a great toll on our bodies, causing illnesses from a minor cough to chronic lung disease and even death. Airborne particulate matter (PM) are small particles related to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and environmental degradation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designates particles with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 µm and 10 µm, PM2.5 and PM10, respectively, as criteria pollutants for which the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) must be complied in all urban areas (USEPA, 2015). PM10, according to the EPA are “inhalable coarse particles” while PM2.5 is “fine particles” that could penetrate deeper into the human’s respiratory system. Exposure to unhealthy concentrations of air over long periods of time can increase the likelihood of chronic disease and shorten lifespan.

Equipment & Measuring

Data is collected using two stationary monitors, BAM1022 for PM2.5, and E-BAM for PM 10, and the data is stored on an electric data-logger on each of the monitors. The data is then interpreted to be healthy, moderate, or unhealthy based of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

The particles are measured in micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3), and the PM2.5 and PM10 receive separate ratings.

Measuring Data

  • 0-12 ug/m3
    Good air quality.
  • 12-65 ug/m3
    Moderate — unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups.
  • 65—500 ug/m3
    Unhealthy — hazardous air quality.

The laboratory also has an Olympus BX51 Florescence Microscope. This type of microscopy has many different types of applications. For example, it uses fluorochrome dye on a sample of PM monitoring tape to test for any biologicals (what is this) being collected amongst the particulate. The fluorescent dye will stain DNA, which will emit light of a different color and stand out against the other particulate. This type of microscopy has redefined imaging techniques for viewing and researching speciation of particulate matter.

Past Monthly Data

Contact

Dr. Lung-Wen Antony Chen

Assistant Professor
Office: MSM-HRC 303
Phone: 702-895-1420
Email: lung-wen.chen@unlv.edu

Rachel Kolberg

Graduate Assistant
kolber1@unlv.nevada.edu
Thesis overview: Detection and enumeration of bio-aerosols using fluorescence DNA dye.