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Issues in the Measurement of Exposure.
NIOSH 1985 May:20 pages
Problems with using epidemiologic studies in risk assessments were discussed. Although epidemiological studies attempt to associate the risk of disease with exposure to a noxious agent and would be expected to be used for risk assessments, frequently they are not. This is due to the fact that epidemiologists focus on study designs, exposure measurements, and analyses that do not address the issues of concern to those making risk assessments. For example, epidemiologists may attempt to demonstrate an association of increasing risk with increasing exposure, but they use the data primarily to support a causal relationship between the agent and disease. They are not concerned with dose response. The risk assessor is concerned with dose response in order to determine a safe or threshold dose, particularly since many agents of concern cannot be banned from human consumption or exposure. Problems with measuring exposures were discussed. Exposures to a single agent very seldom occur; exposures to a multiplicity of agents is the usual situation in the workplace. Interactions with the environment may change the actual agent. The characteristics of the agent may undergo local or temporal fluctuations. Variations in test procedures may affect the capacity to measure certain agents and influence the concentrations of the agent that are detected. The author suggests that improved analytical techniques should be applied to dose response data obtained in epidemiological studies to make it more useful to risk assessors. It is noted that it is important that epidemiologists and risk assessors be able to communicate with each other in order that data from both fields be used more effectively in assessing risks.
Risk-analysis; Biostatistics; Dose-response; Occupational-health; Environmental-factors; Health-protection; Health-hazards; Occupational-exposure;
Proceedings of a Symposium on Epidemiology and Health Risk Assessment, Columbia, Maryland, May 14-16, 1985, Centers for Disease Control/NIOSH, 20 pages, 19 references
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division