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A cross-divisional department spanning

Research and Practice

Mobile Air Pollution Laboratory

White van parked in front of multi-colored rowhouses

Faculty and staff in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University use a mobile laboratory to measure and understand air pollution in Baltimore and beyond. This van contains instruments that can measure chemicals in the air nearly instantaneously.  This lets researchers measure air pollutants at the neighborhood or street level.This is important for understanding what types of pollutants are present and how much.

What do we measure?

The DeCarlo research group and collaborators operate the mobile laboratory equipped to measure hazardous air pollutants, particulate matter composition, and greenhouse gases. The variety of chemical air pollutants measured and which ones are present help the researchers identify the sources of air pollution—whether they come from cars, cooking, or factories—and how these pollutants change in the atmosphere from chemical reactions.  Ultimately, this research is aimed at identifying the impacts of these pollutants on communities, the planet, and environmental health.

 Why do we take these measurements?

This mobile laboratory produces highly detailed information about these pollutants for researchers, communities in the measurement areas, and for students working in the laboratory and taking classes. Data on air pollution and greenhouse gas concentrations from these mobile measurements can be used to communicate about these issues as well as inform communities and policymakers and motivate change.

If you have questions about the Mobile Air Pollution Laboratory, contact us.