A review of exposure assessment methods for epidemiological studies of health effects related to industrially contaminated sites

Hoek, Gerard and Ranzi, Andrea and Alimehmeti, Ilir and Ardeleanu, Elena-Roxana and Arrebola, Juan P. and Ávila, Paula and Candeias, Carla and Colles, Ann and Crișan, Gloria Cerasela and Dack, Sarah and Demeter, Zoltán and Fazzo, Lucia and Fierens, Tine and Flückiger, Benjamin and Gaengler, Stephanie and Hänninen, Otto and Harzia, Hedi and Hough, Rupert and Iantovics, Barna Laszlo and Kalantzi, Olga-Ioanna and Karakitsios, Spyros P. and Markis, Konstantinos C. and Martin-Olmedo, Piedad and Nechita, Elena and Nicoli, Thomai and Orru, Hans and Pasetto, Roberto and Pérez-Carrascosa, Francisco Miguel and Pestana, Diogo and Rocha, Fernando and Sarigiannis, Dimosthenis A. and Teixeira, João Paulo and Tsadilas, Christos and Tasic, Visa and Vaccari, Lorenzo and Iavarone, Ivano and de Hoogh, Kees. (2018) A review of exposure assessment methods for epidemiological studies of health effects related to industrially contaminated sites. Epidemiologia e prevenzione, 42 (5-6, S1). pp. 21-36.

PDF - Published Version

Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/66695/

Downloads: Statistics Overview


this paper is based upon work from COST Action ICSHNet. Health risks related to living close to industrially contaminated sites (ICSs) are a public concern. Toxicology-based risk assessment of single contaminants is the main approach to assess health risks, but epidemiological studies which investigate the relationships between exposure and health directly in the affected population have contributed important evidence. Limitations in exposure assessment have substantially contributed to uncertainty about associations found in epidemiological studies.; to examine exposure assessment methods that have been used in epidemiological studies on ICSs and to provide recommendations for improved exposure assessment in epidemiological studies by comparing exposure assessment methods in epidemiological studies and risk assessments.; after defining the multi-media framework of exposure related to ICSs, we discussed selected multi-media models applied in Europe. We provided an overview of exposure assessment in 54 epidemiological studies from a systematic review of hazardous waste sites; a systematic review of 41 epidemiological studies on incinerators and 52 additional studies on ICSs and health identified for this review.; we identified 10 multi-media models used in Europe primarily for risk assessment. Recent models incorporated estimation of internal biomarker levels. Predictions of the models differ particularly for the routes 'indoor air inhalation' and 'vegetable consumption'. Virtually all of the 54 hazardous waste studies used proximity indicators of exposure, based on municipality or zip code of residence (28 studies) or distance to a contaminated site (25 studies). One study used human biomonitoring. In virtually all epidemiological studies, actual land use was ignored. In the 52 additional studies on contaminated sites, proximity indicators were applied in 39 studies, air pollution dispersion modelling in 6 studies, and human biomonitoring in 9 studies. Exposure assessment in epidemiological studies on incinerators included indicators (presence of source in municipality and distance to the incinerator) and air dispersion modelling. Environmental multi-media modelling methods were not applied in any of the three groups of studies.; recommendations for refined exposure assessment in epidemiological studies included the use of more sophisticated exposure metrics instead of simple proximity indicators where feasible, as distance from a source results in misclassification of exposure as it ignores key determinants of environmental fate and transport, source characteristics, land use, and human consumption behaviour. More validation studies using personal exposure or human biomonitoring are needed to assess misclassification of exposure. Exposure assessment should take more advantage of the detailed multi-media exposure assessment procedures developed for risk assessment. The use of indicators can be substantially improved by linking definition of zones of exposure to existing knowledge of extent of dispersion. Studies should incorporate more often land use and individual behaviour.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Environmental Exposures and Health > Physical Hazards and Health (Röösli)
UniBasel Contributors:de Hoogh, Kees and Flückiger, Benjamin
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Ed. Inferenze
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:19 Jul 2019 15:26
Deposited On:26 Nov 2018 13:24

Repository Staff Only: item control page