Exposure assessment is an integral component of occupational and environmental epidemiology, risk assessment and management, as well as regulatory compliance. For the most part, air sampling and analysis tools used in occupational and environmental exposure assessments are based on technologies that have changed little since the 1970s. In many cases the lack of simple, inexpensive, exposure assessment technologies has limited epidemiologists' and risk assessors' ability to evaluate the environmental and occupational causes of disease. While there have been tremendous investments and advances in medical diagnostic and biomonitoring technologies (e.g., glucose testing, human genetics), there has been less effort invested in advancing the science of exposure assessment. Recent developments in sensor technology have focused on medical and homeland security applications. Developing and applying new sensors to health effects studies can revolutionize the way epidemiologic studies are conducted. Time-series studies that investigate short-term (hours to days) changes in exposure that are linked to changes in health care encounters, symptoms, and biological markers of preclinical disease and/or susceptibility are needed to more fully evaluate the impact of chemicals and other agents on health. Current sampling technology limits our ability to assess time-varying concentrations. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the current state of air sampling and health assessment and the potential application of novel sensor technology for use in health effects studies.