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Evaluation of Coarse and Fine Particulate Sources Using a Portable Aerosol Monitor in a Desert Community


The purpose of this study was to use a portable aerosol monitor as a preliminary screening tool to identify local sources of coarse (PM10–2.5) and fine (PM2.5) particulate matter within the Coachella Valley, a low-elevation desert community. The portable aerosol monitor proved to be useful in identifying particle sources unique to the region, namely, sand dunes with sparse ground cover (vegetation), a river wash, and diesel truck and freight train traffic. The general limitations relate to discrepancies in the fraction of PM10–2.5 when compared to regional air quality data and a lack of accurate mass-based data.

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This research was conducted under the auspices of the Palm Springs Institute for Environmental Sustainability. Grateful acknowledgement is extended to Fred Jandt of California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), and to the CSUSB Center for the Promotion of Health Disparities Research and Training, for their support. The work was also funded in part by a grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (5 P20 MD 002722).

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Correspondence to Robert N. Phalen.

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Phalen, R.N., Coleman, T. Evaluation of Coarse and Fine Particulate Sources Using a Portable Aerosol Monitor in a Desert Community. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 89, 380–383 (2012).

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  • Coarse particulates
  • Fine particulates
  • Air pollution
  • Emission sources