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Exposure assessment in epidemiological studies: what has to be considered when comparing job-exposure matrices?
  1. Thomas Behrens,
  2. Dirk Taeger
  1. Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Bochum, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Thomas Behrens, Centre of Epidemiology, Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum, Bürkle-de-la-Camp-Platz 1, Bochum 44789, Germany; behrens{at}ipa-dguv.de, tbehren{at}gmx.net

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In a recent article, Offermans et al studied the agreement of three job-exposure matrices (JEM) in the Netherlands Cohort (NLCS) with respect to asbestos, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and welding fume exposure.1 The studied JEMs were quite different in their approach to assess exposure: one was based on prevalent mesothelioma cases in jobs highly exposed to asbestos (Asbestos-JEM), the second one (FINJEM) used time-dependent continuous values based on expert assessment and measurement data, and the third (DOMJEM) was a semi-quantitative expert-based JEM that assigned exposure scores (0, 1, 2) to job titles without consideration of change of exposure levels over time. Thus time-dependent exposure levels are not available for the DOMJEM.

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