Inter-rater reliability of assessed prenatal maternal occupational exposures to solvents, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals.
Rocheleau-CM; Lawson-CC; Waters-MA; Hein-MJ; Stewart-PA; Correa-A; Echeverria-D; Reefhuis-J
J Occup Environ Hyg 2011 Dec; 8(12):718-728
Because direct measurements of past occupational exposures are rarely available in population-based case-control studies, exposure assessment of job histories by multiple expert raters is frequently used; however, the subjective nature of this method makes measuring reliability an important quality control step. We evaluated inter-rater reliability of 7729 retrospective jobs reported in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Jobs were classified as exposed, unexposed, or exposure unknown by two independent industrial hygienists; exposed jobs were further evaluated for intensity, frequency, and routes. Exposure prevalence ranged from 0.1-9.8 percent. Inter-rater reliability for exposure (yes/no), assessed by kappa coefficients, was fair to good for cadmium (kappa = 0.46), chlorinated solvents (kappa = 0.59), cobalt (kappa = 0.54), glycol ethers (kappa = 0.50), nickel compounds (kappa = 0.65), oil mists (kappa = 0.63), and Stoddard Solvent (kappa = 0.55); PAHs (kappa = 0.24) and elemental nickel (kappa = 0.37) had poor agreement. After a consensus conference resolved disagreements, an additional 4962 jobs were evaluated. Inter-rater reliability improved or stayed the same for cadmium (kappa = 0.51), chlorinated solvents (kappa = 0.81), oil mists (kappa = 0.63), PAHs (kappa = 0.52), and Stoddard solvent (kappa =0.92) in the second job set. Inter-rater reliability varied by exposure agent and prevalence, demonstrating the importance of measuring reliability in studies using a multiple expert rater method of exposure assessment.
Pregnancy; Prenatal-exposure; Heavy-metal-poisoning; Heavy-metals; Birth-defects; Solvents; Polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbons; Exposure-assessment; Information-retrieval-systems; Industrial-hygienists; Qualitative-analysis; Quality-control; Job-analysis; Statistical-analysis;
Author Keywords: birth defects; exposure assessment; industrial hygienist
Carissa M. Rocheleau, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Pkwy, MS R-15, Cincinnati, OH 45226
7440-43-9; 7440-48-4; 7440-02-0; 8052-41-3
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene