This necklace may pollute your wardrobe, but being mindful of all the pollutants you're inhaling is always fashionable, not to mention beneficial for your health.
If you still have your head stuck in the sand about whether emissions coming out of those smoke stacks are harmful to nearby residents, try raising a family in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood and tell me how your lungs are fairing in 15 years.
For years we've understood that air pollution is linked to health problems. What we haven't been so clear on is how various types of physical activities effect the amount of pollutants we breathe in.
The MicroPEM answers those questions. The device was created by North Carolina-based RTI International and is small enough to be to worn around the neck. While it's not on the level of Flava Flav's clock necklaces, I wouldn't exactly call the MicroPEM small.
But that really doesn't matter because function trumps aesthetic deficiencies, at least on this catwalk. On top of measuring air pollutants, the device also measures a person's activity level with built-in accelerometers.
MicroPEM was recently used in a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, scientists from RTI and several American universities. Subjects were outfitted with with the device and asked to perform a number of activities like sitting, standing, walking on a treadmill, climbing stairs or sweeping.
Researchers were able to calculate breathing rates and compare a real-time record of air pollutants that were present.
"This technology is a game changer in exposure health studies," said study co-author, Dr. Steve Chillrud in an RTI press rlease. "With adult ventilation rates varying by a factor of four across low to moderate activities, any study looking for associations with biomarkers or health outcomes should be better served by potential inhaled dose than with exposure concentrations."