Low-cost, distributed environmental monitors for factory worker health

Geb W. Thomas, Sinan Sousan, Marcus Tatum, Xiaoxing Liu, Christopher Zuidema, Mitchell Fitzpatrick, Kirsten A. Koehler, Thomas M. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An integrated network of environmental monitors was developed to continuously measure several airborne hazards in a manufacturing facility. The monitors integrated low-cost sensors to measure particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone and nitrogen dioxide, noise, temperature and humidity. The monitors were developed and tested in situ for three months in several overlapping deployments, before a full cohort of 40 was deployed in a heavy vehicle manufacturing facility for a year of data collection. The monitors collect data from each sensor and report them to a central database every 5 min. The work includes an experimental validation of the particle, gas and noise monitors. The R2 for the particle sensor ranges between 0.98 and 0.99 for particle mass densities up to 300 µg/m3. The R2 for the carbon monoxide sensor is 0.99 for concentrations up to 15 ppm. The R2 for the oxidizing gas sensor is 0.98 over the sensitive range from 20 to 180 ppb. The noise monitor is precise within 1% between 65 and 95 dBA. This work demonstrates the capability of distributed monitoring as a means to examine exposure variability in both space and time, building an important preliminary step towards a new approach for workplace hazard monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1411
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 3 2018


  • Aerosol exposure
  • Carbon monoxide gas sensors
  • Noise sensors
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Occupational medicine
  • Oxidizing gas sensors
  • Particle sensors
  • Personal exposure
  • Sensor arrays
  • Wireless sensor network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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