Late last semester, I visited a colleague of mine, Dr. Roberta Kloda, an accomplished professional with a Master’s Degree in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy.   Dr. Kloda, who is the Senior Manager of Safety and Environment for Aurubis AG during the day, is a Professor at Daemen College in the evenings. On the night of my visit, Dr. Kloda was teaching the class: Environmental Toxicology 303.

After a brief lecture to the students and some supplemental exercises, Dr. Kloda and I decided to challenge the students’ creativity. Dividing them into groups, students were asked,

If you were going to develop an APP to help prevent people from being exposed to environmental toxins what would it be?

The students generated the following great ideas. I supplemented with a search to see if I could find a current APP to approximate their concepts.  You may find some of these APPs very useful:

Idea #1

Put a probe in the phone to detect toxins in the air. As exposure level readings occurred, information would come up with regard to permissible limits, toxicity levels, etc.

Currently Available:


“AirCasting is an open-source, end-to-end solution for collecting, displaying, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. The platform consists of wearable sensors that detect changes in your environment and physiology…”

Idea #2

Notification alert so that if there is a food recall, you would receive a notification as soon as it happened. It could provide specific information such as brand, product name, lot ID’s for the product affected.

Currently Available:

Recalls and Safety Alerts

The Government of Canada has an app that it set up to function in this way. “Get access to recalls and safety alerts from the Government of Canada, when and where you need them!

The free Recalls and Safety Alerts application for Apple, Android and BlackBerry delivers up-to-date and reliable health and safety information right to your mobile phone.”

Idea #3

By activating the location indicator on a cell phone, the user will be notified of health risks based on your location. So if you’re near a restaurant that had an outbreak of salmonella you would be notified or if you were in an area with heavily concentrated toxins in the air, you would be notified.

Currently Available:


“The app will allow users to get location-specific reports on current air quality and air quality forecasts for both ozone and fine particle pollution (PM2.5). Air quality maps from the AIRNow website provide visual depictions of current and forecast air quality nationwide, and a page on air quality-related health effects explains what actions people can take to protect their health at different AQI levels, such as ‘code orange.’”

Idea #4

Educational app that compares different sources drinking water in terms of their potential toxins. For example, it could compare a type of bottled water, including possible bottle contaminants, to tap water from a given location.  It would help you to decide, “Which one should I drink?”

Currently Available:

TDS Water Quality Crowdsource

“The TDS meter measures total dissolved solids in water. Using the meter, you can determine how clean your water is. I started measuring things around the house, tap water, lake water, river water, bottled water, to get a feel for it. This application allows you to submit your readings and search for other readings of people near you.”

Idea #5

Measure Asbestos levels by taking a picture and getting particulate readings on the air.

Currently Available:

HydroColor: Water Quality App

“HydroColor is a water quality application that uses the iPhone camera to determine the reflectance of natural water bodies. Using this information, HydroColor can estimate water turbidity (0-80 NTU), concentration of suspended particulate matter (SPM) (g/m^3) and the backscattering coefficient in the red (1/m).”

Idea #6

Keep track of what you are eating and the nutritional or toxic risks that you are accumulating over a period of time. Dose calculator.

Currently Available:

Nutrition Journal

Track your macronutrient, vitamin, and mineral intake from Vitamin A to Zn with Nutrition Journal, the only diet app that lets you track over 30 nutrients for nearly 100,000 foods.”

Idea #7

Scan barcode in grocery store to tell potential risks associated with the product.

Currently Available:

GoodGuide mobile app

“The GoodGuide mobile app makes it fast and easy to find safe, healthy, green, and ethical products, instantly delivering the information you need, when you need it most — in a store and on the go.

  • Comprehensive: Find health, environmental, and social performance ratings for over 120,000 food, personal care, and household products — from baby shampoo to bathroom cleaner.
  • Quick, and Easy: Barcode scanning makes it easier than ever to retrieve product ratings and information on your phone while you shop. Or browse and look up products with just a few taps.”

Much APP-lause for the students in Daemen College’s Environmental Toxicology 303 class for all their inspired ideas! If you’d like to review other useful apps, check out the link below:

Daemen College’s Environmental Toxicology 303





Insyte Consulting