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The need for improved sensor science to measure environmental exposures to disasters

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) launched the Disaster Research Response (DR2) program and infrastructure in 2013 to improve the capacity for timely environmental health research following disasters. Despite this investment, a recent article co-authored by Nicole Errett, faculty director of the Center for Disaster Resilient Communities, notes that research gaps remain in this space, with a major challenge being the development and deployment of cost-effective sensors for post-disaster exposure assessments.

In the article, the team of authors recounts the outcomes of a 2021 NIEHS workshop focused on developing expert recommendations to improve sensor science in support of DR2. Key recommendations include the need to better engage with communities, produce sensors that offer specifically-defined measurements, improve data coordination and implement long-term follow-up of disaster-related exposures.

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