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January/February 2024

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REVIEW 32 POST JAN/FEB 2024 he air you breathe may ruin your health. Monitoring helps. Post production workers, on average, are more often exposed to high concen- trations of pollutants, like volatile organic components (VOC), than the rest of us. Air quality monitors that measure exposure enable them to take precau- tions. I got a chance to test one that can be used indoors and outdoors: the Atmotube Pro. Many commercially-available, air-qual- ity monitors Ãre about as useful as stick- ing your finger up your nose. However, I found two that won't break the bank, yet are accurate enough for anything from daily usage to scientific research, and only one of these — the Atmotube Pro — is portable. The Atmotube Pro is used for ongo- ing research projects in the US, the EU, Africa, Asia and the Pacific region. It re- cently won the 2023 Airlab Microsensors Challenge in two categories. In March 2023, its particle matter (PM) sensor passed the MCERTS certification. The Air Quality Sensors Performance Evaluation Center at South Coast AQMD (US) found it scores a consistently-high accuracy compared to the organization's GRIMM monitor's base results for particle matter. The oversized USB stick lookalike has an eyelet for carrying it while you're on the go. It has sensors for PM 1, PM 2.5 and PM 10; a recalibration-capable TVOC sensor; and a Bosch sensor for tempera- ture, relative humidity and barometric pressure. When it gauges the PM levels every two seconds, the battery dies after a day, but it lasts 10 days when you have PM measured every 15 minutes. All other Atmotube Pro sensors always measure at a :02 interval. Health risks Editors should keep an eye on VOC levels. I became aware of that fact when I was working in Final Cut Pro X and no- ticed that my two three-year-old external U.2 SSD devices' fans were causing the TVOC sensor inside the Atmotube Pro to have a party. Furniture (especially cheap, made-in- China stu©) and electronic equipment emit harmful VOCs. Inhaling those continuously may cause irritation of your nose and eyes, as well as more serious conditions. Monitoring the air quality can help you decide if you should invest in a ventilation system, or if it's enough to regularly leave the room. PM is downright dangerous. The deep- er it will invade your lungs, the bigger the risk it will cause conditions like emphy- sema or cancer. PM1 is small enough to seep through into the bloodstream, circu- lating throughout the body and causing systemic health e©ects. You might think PM can't be a prob- lem when you stay indoors, but you'd be wrong. Taking myself as an example: For a couple of years I've been living and working in a neighborhood where even indoors PM levels never decrease to a level designated as "Good" by EU or "Healthy" by US environment agencies. The experiment I tested the Atmotube Pro in Antwerp, my place of birth, where your respiratory tract is continuously abused by a motor- way that encircles the city center. The national environment agency constantly monitors air quality in and around the city and its port, and makes daily aver- ages, as well as actual measurements, available online. I walked the route from where I was staying to the city center — a 5km walk along Antwerp's busiest access road that includes one motorway crossing. Weather conditions were 9 degrees Celsius, 980 hPa barometric pressure, 54 percent humidity and a 4 Beaufort wind. The average PM numbers for the day were between 11–15 micrograms per cubic meter for PM2.5, 11–35 for PM10 for the city; between 16–20 for PM2.5; and 36–45 for PM10 on the motorway (floor level). The Atmotube Pro reported 9, 11 and 12 micrograms per cubic meter for PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 in the city; and 16, 19 and for PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 upon crossing the motorway. Then I tested the Atmotube Pro's VOC sensor indoors, and after 48 hours of initial calibration, found out that SSD enclosures can spit out a lot of fumes when they are working hard — I registered a VOC level of over 2ppm, which really isn't healthy. The verdict The Atmotube Pro is demonstrably able to compete with far more expensive lab-certified equipment and it makes sense to carry one around so you can avoid breathing becoming a high-risk activity. It's a TVOC device, so in theory, you can't tell if the device is sni¬ng out harmful VOCs or natural ones, but com- mon sense goes a long way. In my exper- iment, the VOC levels couldn't have come from anything else but the SSDs' fans. The Atmotube Pro is available for retail online and costs $189 US/169 Euros. ATMOTUBE PRO BY ERIK VLIETINCK ERIK@ THECONTENTGAME.COM TESTING ATMO'S PORTABLE AIR-QUALITY MONITOR T VITAL STATS MANUFACTURER: Atmo PRODUCT: Atmotube Pro PRICE: $189.00 WEBSITE:

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