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Tel Aviv University invention busts dust
Date:9/22/2009

Worried that dust from a nearby construction zone will harm your family's health? A new Tel Aviv University tool could either confirm your suspicions or better yet, set your mind at rest.

Prof. Eyal Ben-Dor and his Ph.D student Dr. Sandra Chudnovsky, of TAU's Department of Geography have developed a sensor called "Dust Alert" ― the first of its kind ― to help families and authorities monitor the quality of the air they breathe. Like an ozone gas or carbon monoxide meter, it measures the concentration of small particles that may contaminate the air in your home. Scientific studies on "Dust Alert" appeared recently in the journal Science of the Total Environment, Urban Air Pollution: Problems, Control Technologies and Management Practices.

"It works just like an ozone meter would," says Prof. Ben-Dor. "You put it in your home or office for three weeks, and it can give you real-time contamination levels in terms of dust, pollen and toxins." Functioning like a tiny chemistry lab, the device can precisely determine the chemical composition of the toxins, so homeowners, office managers and factories can act to improve air quality.

Using the measurements, Prof. Ben-Dor can sometimes find a quick remedy for a dusty or pollen-filled home. The solution could be as easy as keeping a window open, he says. "We've found through our ongoing research that some simple actions at home can have a profound effect on the quality of air we breathe."

Instant results

Based on a portable chemical analyzer called a spectrophotometer, the invention can be installed and begin to collect data within minutes, although several weeks' worth of samples produces the best assessment of air quality. The longer period allows for fluctuations in both internal and external environments, such as changing weather patterns.

The "Dust Alert" fills an important need. Polluted air, breathed in for weeks, months and sometim
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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