The goal of this project is to develop a new electrochemical paper-based analytical device (ePAD) for measurement of Cu, Fe, Ni, Co, and Mn in airborne particulate matter (PM). PM represents one of the most significant environmental health threats to people in both developed and developing countries as a result of exposure in indoor, outdoor, and occupational settings. The World Health Organization currently lists PM exposure as the 9th leading cause of morbidity and mortality, worldwide. Traditionally PM exposure hazards are quantified by the total particle mass but toxicity is often better correlated with composition. As a result, there is a strong interest in measuring PM composition. Present methods for composition measurement rely heavily on traditional analytical techniques such as Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. These instruments are large, expensive, and complicated. And as a result, samples cost anywhere from $100/filter for a single metal to $400 for a full suite of elements. Furthermore, all testing is done in remote laboratories meaning a delay of weeks to months between sample collection and results. Economically, fast and inexpensive assessment of metal pollutants would make exposure and risk assessment more efficient and timely. Additionally, because health-based exposure studies (i.e., epidemiology) are often limited by sample size, more measurements would enable researchers to link specific exposures to the myriad health effects of toxic metals. Access Sensor Technologies is developing a suite of products centered around the low cost ePAD sensors and small, inexpensive personal sampling systems. For this Phase I project, we will 1) develop the chemistry to measure Fe, Co, Cu, Ni, and Mn using cathodic stripping voltammetry and 2) create a field module that integrates all of the electronic elements and the ePAD for simplified customer operation. Neither of these steps has been achieved previously but are essential for the future of this product. If successful, ePAD sensors will also have application beyond particulate air pollution, as the sensor paradigm is amenable for water, soil, and food analyses as well.
This project seeks to develop a new inexpensive sensor using electrochemical paper-based analytical devices (ePADs) for determination of toxic metals in airborne particulate matter. This sensor will allow detection of human exposure to toxic metals that are associated with both morbidity and mortality worldwide.