Palabra: "Youth-Powered Science"

An article about research in New York City schools mentions a project co-led by RFF Fellow Beia Spiller, which involves New York students with air quality monitoring projects.

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July 29, 2023

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Media Highlight



[Stephen] Holler’s work is part of Project FRESH Air (Fordham Regional Environmental Sensor for Healthy Air), a Fordham University participatory monitoring project that focuses on  educational programming. It’s one of two related projects at Fordham University, the other a research study called Air Quality Partnership for NYC Schools, investigating how air quality affects academic performance in New York City schools. The latter is a collaboration among Fordham University, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), Resources for the Future (RFF) and two community groups: The Point Community Development Fund based in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx and TREEage ...

Dr. Beia Spiller, a lead researcher with Project FRESH Air, noted that community knowledge of air quality, without data to back it up, is often dismissed as anecdotal or unscientific, despite having real health ramifications for vulnerable populations.

“There’s a lot of policy that’s made because of lack of information, so having more information always helps to improve the policies,” Spiller said.

Studies show that the effects of childhood exposure to air pollution persist into adulthood, Spiller added, with implications for long-term community justice and well-being.

“If we think about intergenerational equity, reducing that air pollution is a first step to helping to build wealth,” she said. “It’s one way that we can start to reduce all these inequities in our city, by focusing on reducing exposure in these environmental areas.”

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