Health and Environments Research Centre [HERC] Laboratory

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
What the facility does

Research on aerosol science, toxicological impacts of airborne particles on human health, risk assessment of air quality on human health, research and technology development on the implications of climate change for human health and society.

Areas of expertise

Researchers at the Health and Environments Research Centre Laboratory collaborate with other investigators and  industrial partners locally and globally, to examine the sources, fate, transport and metabolism of aerosols of health significance in human environments and ecosystems. Key considerations include the associated toxicological mechanisms and pathways of host defence, tissue injury and repair, and other systems-related responses in relation to such exposures; the identification of new clinically significant markers of environmental and occupational toxicology and pathogenesis; the estimation of the population health burden of such exposures on the health of Canadians and the global community; and the development of new environmental public health policy and community health planning tools. Our areas of expertise include toxicology, environmental and occupational health, environmental chemistry, atmospheric science, and climate change.

Our facilities are linked to the Canadian Aerosol Research Network (CARN), with the global purpose of enabling researchers, consultants, and governmental officials to conduct environmental and occupational health and atmospheric science research in accordance with the Canadian Aerosol Research Network user principles and definitions.

Research services

Indoor and outdoor air quality assessment, characterization of environmental contaminants in air, water and soil, characterization of fine particulate matter and aerosol composition, environmental sampling method development, worksite exposure investigations, analysis of trace metals in environmental samples and filter weighing and sample collection preparation, exposure assessment support to epidemiological and occupational hygiene studies, freely accessible information and data. We provide a repository of GEOS-Chem input files (such as emission and metfields), which can be downloaded via anonymous FTP from, and data processed from meteorological input from the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) of the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office and the MERRA reanalysis.

We ask users to familiarize themselves with corresponding publications and communicate with the research contact listed to ensure the most up-to-date and appropriate use of information.

Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Clean technology
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Information and communication technologies and media
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Ocean industries
  • Policy and governance

Specialized lab



Analytical Chemistry Suite

Thermo Scientific iCAP Q ICP-MS

PerkinElmer Clarus ® SQ 8 GC-MS/TD


Thermo Scientific Exactive Plus Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer


Thermo Scientific ISQ GC-MS


Thermo Scientific Dionex ICS-5000 Reagent-Free HPIC System

Thermo Scientific Dionex ASE 350


Thermo Scientific Spectra HPLC

Sunset Laboratory Semi-Continuous OCEC Carbon Aerosol Analyzer

TSI 3081/3085//3775 Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer


Sartorius SE-2-F Microbalance and Terra Universal Cleanroom

CEM Discover SP-D microwave digester

Trace elemental analysis

Trace organic and inorganic compound analysis

Identify and quantify chemicals in complex matrices


Trace organic compound analysis

Simultaneous anion and cation analysis

Extracts solids and semisolid samples for chemical analysis

Quantify organic and inorganic compounds with chemical speciation

Quantifies organic and elemental carbon in aerosol

Continuous measurements of the size distribution and number concentration of submicron particles

 High-precision, seven-digit microbalance in clean room

Fast and efficient sample digestion for metal analysis

Environmental Monitoring Suite


(Environmental analytical chemistry facilities for high-precision analyses of environmental contaminants)

Aerodyne Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor


CES Xact 625 ambient metals monitor


Thermo Scientific 5012 Multi-Angle Absorption Photometer for Real-time Black Carbon Monitoring

Thermo Scientific 5014i Beta Continuous Ambient Particulate Monitor


Thermo Scientific 42i NO-NO2-NOx Analyzer


Thermo Scientific 48i-TLE Enhanced Trace Level CO Analyzer


Recordum Airpointers


Thermo Scientific Partisol 2300 Speciation Sampler


Thermo Scientific Partisol Plus 2025 Sequential Air Sampler


TSI Ultrafine Particle Monitor 3031


DustTrak Drx Aerosol Monitor 8533


TSI Q-Trak Indoor Air Quality Monitor 7575

TSI Condensation Particle Counter 3007

Real-time quantification of inorganic and organic components in submicron particles


Near real-time trace elemental analysis

Continuous measurement of black carbon

Continuous measurement of PM10, PM2.5, PM1, and total suspended particles

Continuous measurement of oxides of nitrogen levels


Continuous measurements carbon monoxide


Real-time measurements of O3, CO, SO2, H2S, NOx, and PM2.5 and weather metrics


Filter-based ambient particulate sampling of PM2.5 and PM10


Filter-based ambient particulate sampling of PM2.5 and PM10


Continuous measurements of the size, distribution and number concentration of ultrafine particles

Continuous measurements of PM1, PM2.5, PM4, PM10, and total PM fractions

Measures CO2, CO, temperature, and humidity

Continuous measurements of submicron particle number concentrations

Toxicology Suite

Nanoparticle generating unit

Cell culturing unit

In vitro toxicity testing system

Remote Sensing Computing  Suite (PCS) - Physics and Atmospheric Sciences


High Powered Computing Suite PE R410 Head Node, dual E5520, 16GB 2*80GB, RPS


Dell Precision T5500 Quad Core Xeon E55062 Workstations + Office

Remote Sensing Data Repository

Freely accessible information and data have greatly advanced scientific development during the past decade.

GEOS-Chem input data

We provide a repository of GEOS-Cheminput files (emission, metfields, etc.), which can be downloaded via anonymous FTP from Data processed from meteorological input from the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) of the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office and the MERRA reanalysis.

Users are asked to familiarize themselves with corresponding publications and contact principle researchers (as provided within subsequent sections) to ensure the most up-to-date and appropriate use of information.

  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • Health Canada
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Iowa (USA)
  • National Research Foundation of Korea
  • Korea Institute of Toxicology
  • Mount Allison University
  • Manipal University/ Faculty of Medicine/ India
  • Health Effects Institute (USA)
  • The Lung Association of Nova Scotia
  • Canadian Cancer Society (PEI Division)
  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute
  • National Research Council Canada