NY LEAPPS: Monitoring Local Exposures to Hazardous Atmospheric Pollutants using Passive Samplers

EPA Grant Number: R840423
Title: NY LEAPPS: Monitoring Local Exposures to Hazardous Atmospheric Pollutants using Passive Samplers
Investigators: Apell, Jennifer , McDonough, Carrie
Institution: New York University , The State University of New York at Stony Brook
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2025
Project Amount: $400,000
RFA: Measurement and Monitoring Methods for Air Toxics and Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Atmosphere (2021) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Early Career Awards , Air Quality and Air Toxics


Our objective is to develop and validate previously used and novel passive sampling designs to measure a diverse suite of air toxics and contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) with detection limits in the pg/m3 range. We hypothesize that a novel approach to measure partition coefficients will allow us to independently validate the satisfactory performance of the sampler when comparing against traditional air sampling methods and that the novel passive sampler design can provide a method that minimizes sample processing and provide sufficient mass accumulation for suspect screening of novel air toxics. We also hypothesize that that these samplers will be able to locate sources of emissions when deployed at the neighborhood level and will provide a measure of chronic exposures that can be compared to health risk-based guidelines set by New York.


We will use modeling and laboratory experiments to provide the information needed for independent validation and to define the applicability domain for the novel passive sampler design. Field validation will be accomplished by co-deploying passive samplers with NYC air monitoring stations and by taking further high-volume air samples to validate concentrations of contaminants not currently measured. The utility of these samplers will be demonstrated at the neighborhood scale by collaboration with local community groups for site selection and deployment assistance.

Expected Results:

The proposed research addresses several research needs that were identified. The sampling method provides detection limits that are low enough to quantify ambient air concentrations, which is necessary for effective evaluation of chronic exposures and for investigating the environmental fate of these compounds. It is cost effective as it provides a time-integrative concentration that is representative of concentrations during the weeks to months it is deployed. It also allows for the locating of emission sources, even those that are episodic, with sources that have larger impacts on local air quality resulting in a more prominent signal in the samplers located nearby. The deployment of these samplers in north Brooklyn will demonstrate their utility to address concerns about environmental justice. The results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and national presentations and will also be communicated to the local community through partnership with the community groups. Of particular importance is the creation of a consistent set of partition coefficients for over 100 air toxics and CECs that will improve the accuracy of this sampling method.

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, exposure, toxics, community-based, environmental chemistry, monitoring, measurement methods, EPA Region 2