Lawrence to Receive 10 Sensors to Monitor Air Pollution Levels

Courtesy of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The City of Lawrence is receiving 10 air sensors to monitor local air pollution levels.

Lawrence is one of 39 communities, and the only one in the Merrimack Valley, to be awarded the “PurpleAir” units by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Sensors measure fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, for one year.

“Particulate matter can be a significant airborne pollutant that affects the public health in communities throughout the state,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “By providing air sensors to municipalities to measure their air quality, our Air Sensor Grant Program highlights the Commonwealth’s dedication to working directly with local communities, to effectively assess and improve air quality across the state.”

PM2.5 is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air and is so small it can be inhaled deep into the lungs and may even enter a person’s bloodstream. Breathing PM2.5 in the air can lead to adverse health effects, including aggravated asthma and other respiratory and cardio-pulmonary illnesses.

Communities will be able to work with residents, schools and community groups to measure PM2.5 levels and increase awareness of local air quality conditions and identify ways to better protect public health. The state said it targeted sensor placements in or near communities with environmental justice populations. Out of all the projects receiving sensors, 56% are in communities that often experience disproportionate effects of air pollution.

Sensor data also can be viewed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow Fire and Smoke Map together with data from state-operated regulatory PM2.5 monitors.

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