Calibrating a population-based job-exposure matrix using inspection measurements to estimate historical occupational exposure to lead for a population-based cohort in Shanghai, China.

Koh DH, Bhatti P, Coble JB, Stewart PA, Lu W, Shu XO, Ji BT, Xue S, Locke SJ, Portengen L, Yang G, Chow WH, Gao YT, Rothman N, Vermeulen R, Friesen MC
J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2014 24 (1): 9-16

PMID: 22910004 · PMCID: PMC3508334 · DOI:10.1038/jes.2012.86

The epidemiologic evidence for the carcinogenicity of lead is inconsistent and requires improved exposure assessment to estimate risk. We evaluated historical occupational lead exposure for a population-based cohort of women (n=74,942) by calibrating a job-exposure matrix (JEM) with lead fume (n=20,084) and lead dust (n=5383) measurements collected over four decades in Shanghai, China. Using mixed-effect models, we calibrated intensity JEM ratings to the measurements using fixed-effects terms for year and JEM rating. We developed job/industry-specific estimates from the random-effects terms for job and industry. The model estimates were applied to subjects' jobs when the JEM probability rating was high for either job or industry; remaining jobs were considered unexposed. The models predicted that exposure increased monotonically with JEM intensity rating and decreased 20-50-fold over time. The cumulative calibrated JEM estimates and job/industry-specific estimates were highly correlated (Pearson correlation=0.79-0.84). Overall, 5% of the person-years and 8% of the women were exposed to lead fume; 2% of the person-years and 4% of the women were exposed to lead dust. The most common lead-exposed jobs were manufacturing electronic equipment. These historical lead estimates should enhance our ability to detect associations between lead exposure and cancer risk in the future epidemiologic analyses.

MeSH Terms (15)

Adult Aged Air Pollutants, Occupational Calibration China Cohort Studies Dust Female Humans Industry Lead Middle Aged Occupational Exposure Occupations Retrospective Studies

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