Lung in a Box – a Biological Sensor

Gizmo Uses Lung Cells To Sniff Out Health Hazards In Urban Air(Richard Harris, NPR News, May 31, 2013) min 10 sec  mp3 sound file)


Today we review an interview with Professors Harvey Jeffries and Will Vizuete at the University of North Carolina who developed a simulated “lung in a box” into which polluted air and particulates could be injected and tested with lung cells to determine health impacts. In an excellent  video, pollution is observed before and after it is “cooked” for a day, resembling the effect of sunshine and warmth added to raw pollution to produce smog with ten times the health impact compared to original air sample. The hope of these inventors is to see these kinds of biological sensors distributed in many cities that experience pollution so that impacts can be readily diagnosed and dealt with.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


2 Responses

  1. The study found children inhaled and retained more air pollution per unit of body weight than adults, partly because they played outdoors, and that pollution had a greater impact on children because their lungs were still developing. While the impacts measured were small, long-term exposure to NO2 could affect them into adult life, the report warned.

  2. Yes. Concentrated streams of outdoor tobacco smoke can, at the very least, act as a respiratory or eye irritant. But outdoor tobacco smoke may also pose a serious health hazard for severe asthmatics even if the exposure is transient, since tobacco smoke may act as a trigger. Those with compromised cardiovascular systems may be at risk from even brief exposures. People spending time near outdoor smokers over multiple hours, such as waiters or dinner guests, can receive exposure that exceeds the current USEPA limit on fine particulate matter pollution. Hence, outdoor tobacco smoke is a real occupational and hospitality health issue, and there is a compelling basis to institute smoking bans to protect individuals in both commercial and non-commercial settings.

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