Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Krystal Pollitt

Second Advisor

Michelle Bell


Air pollution remains to be one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, especially in the urban environment. Airborne contaminants exposure differs across different communities and in the US, low-income, racial minority communities bear the burdens of high exposure and adverse health outcomes. Therefore, we conducted a study among children living in the Dwight neighborhood in New Haven, CT, where the community is mainly low-income and consist of a large number of immigrants and racial minorities. The objectives of the study were 1) to characterize the distribution and magnitude of individual level of airborne contaminants exposure; 2) to determine the association between environmental conditions, behavioral factors and the observed level of personal exposure. The exposure data was collected by Fresh Air wristbands, low-cost and wearable air samplers, and study participants were wearing the wristbands for five consecutive days at the end of May, 2022. 20 participants successfully returned wristbands valid for analysis. The parents/guardians of the study participants filled out a survey on household characteristics and activity patterns. From the targeted analysis, 30 chemical compounds from 10 chemical classes were detected >75% of the study participants. Chemicals detected were predominantly polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and phthalates, which are commonly found in combustion and plasticizers in consumer products. Disparities were observed in PAHs between genders (male/female) and phthalates between race/ethnicity (Black/non-Black): female children were found to be exposed to a significantly higher level of PAHs than male children; Black children were observed to be exposed to a significantly higher level of phthalates than non-Black children. Due to the limitation of sample size, the results may not be generalizable and future research is needed.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/10/2025