Use of light intensity, temperature, and humidity to verify exposure location

Penney Stanch, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Research studies on the association between exposures to air contaminants and disease frequently use worn dosimeters to measure the concentration of the contaminant of interest. But investigation of exposure determinants requires additional knowledge beyond concentration, i.e., knowledge about personal activity such as whether the exposure occurred in a building or outdoors. Current studies frequently depend upon manual activity logging to record location. This study's purpose was to evaluate the use of a worn data logger recording three environmental parameters—temperature, humidity, and light intensity—as well as time of day, to determine indoor or outdoor location, with an ultimate aim of eliminating the need to manually log location or at least providing a method to verify such logs. For this study, data collection was limited to a single geographical area (Houston, Texas metropolitan area) during a single season (winter) using a HOBO H8 four-channel data logger. Data for development of a Location Model were collected using the logger for deliberate sampling of programmed activities in outdoor, building, and vehicle locations at various times of day. The Model was developed by analyzing the distributions of environmental parameters by location and time to establish a prioritized set of cut points for assessing locations. The final Model consisted of four "processors" that varied these priorities and cut points. Data to evaluate the Model were collected by wearing the logger during "typical days" while maintaining a location log. The Model was tested by feeding the typical day data into each processor and generating assessed locations for each record. These assessed locations were then compared with true locations recorded in the manual log to determine accurate versus erroneous assessments. The utility of each processor was evaluated by calculating overall error rates across all times of day, and calculating individual error rates by time of day. Unfortunately, the error rates were large, such that there would be no benefit in using the Model. Another analysis in which assessed locations were classified as either indoor (including both building and vehicle) or outdoor yielded slightly lower error rates that still precluded any benefit of the Model's use.

Subject Area

Occupational safety|Public health

Recommended Citation

Stanch, Penney, "Use of light intensity, temperature, and humidity to verify exposure location" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1444563.