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How important is personal exposure assessment in the epidemiology of air pollutants?
  1. H Kromhout1,
  2. M van Tongeren2
  1. 1Environmental and Occupational Health Division, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, PO Box 80176, 3508 TD Utrecht, Netherlands;
  2. 2Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

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    The paper by Harrison and colleagues1 and the accompanying editorial by Cherrie2 in the October 2002 issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine address the important issue of personal exposure assessment (of air pollutants) in environmental epidemiology. After reading both papers we would like to make some comments with regard to the design, conduct and statistical analysis of the study by Harrison et al and at the same time answer the question raised by Cherrie in his editorial.

    Coming from the occupational exposure assessment arena it is interesting to see that our environmental colleagues are still relying to a large extent on static (microenvironmental) sampling and even rely on shadowing to represent personal exposure. The latter brought back memories of old occupational hygiene textbooks with pictures of technicians standing with a sampling probe in the breathing zone of a worker (clearly hindered while carrying out his work task). It is interesting to note that Dr Cherrie’s very relevant earlier work3 on whether wearing sampling pumps affects exposure (it hardly did) was not mentioned in both papers.

    The paper by Harrison and colleagues1

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