A Community-Based Tool to Measure Hydrogen Sulfide Near Oil and Gas Development
Communities living nearby oil and gas development risk exposure to the rotten egg-smelling and neurotoxic gas hydrogen sulfide, H₂S, but often lack tools to measure it. In response, Northeastern University’s Wylie Lab has developed a Do-It-Yourself photographer tool to visualize and measure H₂S concentrations. This talk discusses the process of making this tool scientifically valid and civically valid, in other words, useful and accessible to the communities affected by oil and gas emissions.
Lourdes Vera received her B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College at Columbia University and M.A. in Teaching Earth and General Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. She is especially interested in using citizen science to address environmental health and justice concerns with communities affected by industrial development. Currently, she is a research assistant to Prof. Sara Wylie working to develop and validate a photopaper tool to measure and map low, chronic amounts of the toxic gas hydrogen sulfide that presents health risks to communities adjacent to oil and gas facilities. Lourdes won the Sociology Department’s 2018 Outstanding Contributions to Public Sociology award for her work with EDGI, including webmaster, Steering Committee member, and member of Environmental Data Justice working group; and for her community-based participatory research work developing a low cost tool for community monitoring of hydrogen sulfide that has helped build a grassroots research organization in Karnes County Texas.
Check out Lourdes Vera’s full paper on using photopaper as a community tool here.