Connecticut Department of Public Health Receives EPA Monitoring Grant
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 9, 2022
CONTACT: Chris Boyle, Director of Communications
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HARTFORD, Conn.—The Connecticut Department of Public Health has received a $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to focus on air quality monitoring in distressed communities.
DPH will establish a network of low-cost air sensors to provide real-time measurements of pollutants, provide training modules, and develop an education and outreach campaign for community members to lead long-term air sensor network operation. The grant includes partnerships with local health departments, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the University of Connecticut, and Yale University.
DPH also will create a digital dashboard that will provide information about the effects of poor air quality days on health and link to existing programs to support community health in disadvantaged communities. An outreach and education component will be deployed within school systems hosting the air quality sensors, including teacher training to integrate a community-based air quality monitoring component within the curriculum for participating schools utilizing EPA’s Air Quality Flag Program.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the State to work with our partners in local health on reducing adverse health outcomes associated with poor air quality,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.
DPH established the newly created Office of Climate and Public Health from the Governor’s 2021 GC3 executive order to focus on climate change efforts and human health protection.
“Climate change and its effect on public health is one of the overarching initiatives here at DPH,” said Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD. “DPH will implement actions that enhance health equity, increase resiliency, and ensure Connecticut communities are prepared for the health impacts of climate change which include improving air quality.”
“We know poor air quality exacerbates asthma and other respiratory illness, especially among sensitive groups,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “The studies this funding will support will provide additional data and insights which will inform the development of future DEEP policies to improve air quality in our environmental justice areas and supplement our other air quality monitoring efforts. Congratulations to our partners at DPH and to the City of Stamford on receiving this important funding.”
Details of the DPH grant include:
- Building capacity and knowledge for monitoring outdoor air quality (fine particulate matter, PM2.5; ozone, O3) in real-time and at a hyperlocal scale in the distressed communities.
- An educational toolbox will be developed containing community tailored engagement materials, air quality monitoring network program deployment guidance and standard operating procedures for sensor placement, installation and maintenance, as well as options for reducing exposure to air pollution.
- Gathering community feedback will be incorporated into the decision-making process, and DPH and its partners will encourage and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.
- Project goals which include increased stakeholder and community knowledge of health effects, vulnerabilities, and available options for reducing the adverse health outcomes associated with poor air quality.
- An outreach and education component which will be deployed within school systems hosting the air quality sensors, including teacher training to integrate a community-based air quality monitoring component within the curriculum for participating schools utilizing EPA’s Air Quality Flag Program.
The City of Stamford also received a $68,000 grant from EPA to establish a comprehensive air quality monitoring program focused on multiple air pollutants which will benefit historically marginalized residents in Stamford. Project goals include building the capacity to measure air pollution in real-time, providing data to support strategies that mitigate air pollution, and improving local health outcomes.