Dallas To Install New Air Quality Monitors


An AQ Mesh air quality monitor | Image by AQ Mesh

Dallas is adding new air quality monitors throughout the city in an effort to better understand and track air pollution at the neighborhood level.

The City of Dallas has re-launched a 2017 neighborhood initiative called Breathe Easy Dallas, a collaborative effort between research institutions and health organizations to “advance scientific understanding and application of local air monitoring for improved public health outcomes among high-risk populations.”

As part of the revamped initiative, the Office of Environmental Quality & Sustainability (OEQ) will introduce 40 new air quality monitors in Dallas-area neighborhoods suffering higher-than-average air pollution. These include neighborhoods in West Dallas, Dixon Circle, Floral Farms, and Joppa.

Reviving the Breathe Easy Dallas initiative will help the City create programming and policies to ensure safe and clean air, according to Carlos Evans, director of the OEQ.

“We have a pretty good understanding of regional air quality, but we don’t have a good understanding of neighborhood level air quality,” Evans told The Dallas Morning News.

In general, the regulatory devices that monitor air pollution are typically installed at fixed locations and are owned by a public agency or environmental organization, according to a project summary report of the Breathe Easy Dallas initiative.

These agency-owned air monitors can accurately measure a variety of pollutants, such as black carbon, nitrogen oxide, and nitrogen dioxide. However, fixed mobility monitors with high calibration requirements and maintenance costs have been known to hinder the City’s ability to understand and map its own air quality, which can vary across different Dallas neighborhoods.

These limitations led to the recent emergence and deployment of Dallas’ low-cost air quality monitors, which are expected to be installed throughout Dallas’ impacted neighborhoods up until the end of 2023, according to reporting from The Dallas Morning News.

“Organizations within the city of Dallas and many organizations throughout the country, citizen groups, community advocates, etc. use various types of sensors of various qualities,” Evans said, according to The Dallas Morning News.

He went on to say that “the city of Dallas recognizes that if we are seeing neighborhood level air quality as important, then we need to have our own programs with our own sensors that we know are reliable and that we can make policy decisions from.”

To date, the City of Dallas has purchased eight monitors from AQ Mesh, a UK-based air monitoring company. The new AQ Mesh air monitors will be able to measure a variety of particulate matter, including nitrogen dioxide and ozone. Once the initiative gets rolling, Dallas plans to purchase additional monitors that will measure other pollutants like sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Not everyone in the community is satisfied with Dallas’ approach, though.

Jim Schermbeck, director of the environmental activist organization Downwinders at Risk, is disheartened by the City’s lack of cooperation when connecting the 40 planned air monitors on SharedAirDFW, an aggregated database of local air monitors and partners with the University of Texas at Dallas, the City of Plano, and Downwinders.

“They haven’t asked for any kind of collaboration at all,” Schermbeck told The Dallas Morning News. “The reason there’s a shared air network is because EPA and the state have failed in their responsibility to give people an idea of what kind of air they’re breathing not only in Dallas-Fort Worth, but also across the country,” he said.

Schermbeck said he wants the “ability to present a citizen-friendly way to see what you were breathing and to be able to track that in real time,” per The Dallas Morning News.

If you enjoyed this article, please support us today!

Formed in 2021, we provide fact-based, non-partisan news. The Dallas Express is a non-profit organization funded by charitable support and advertising.

Please join us on the important journey to make Dallas a better place!

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

Subscribe to Comments
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
18 days ago

Interesting. Maybe this ties into their ESG agenda to get rid of gas powered lawn care equipment.

Synthetic chemical fragrances
I am aghast at all the products (and people who buy them) which have synthetic chemical fragrances. Air fresheners, candles, car fragrance, laundry fragrance, trash bag fragrance.
Some of the chemicals in them are horrendously toxic, and can have long term health affects.
Think about some of these designer aromatic chemicals…they are made to last a long time and they are engineered to “stick” or “cling” to things.

These companies do not have to reveal the chemicals that are in these fragrances. I’ve made some fragrances before in a lab. Nasty stuff.

Besides an injection into the body (like a shot), the next best direct route is through the lungs and nasal cavity. That is why people smoke drugs.

Some people demonize smokers, but they yet intentionally inhale synthetic chemicals fragrances. If you can smell it, it certainly is going in your lungs and body system.