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Community based job exposure matrices


G. Benke1.1Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

A job exposure matrix (JEM) can be defined as a cross classification between a list of job titles and a list of agents (which may be chemicals, physical or biological agents, or psychosocial or ergonomic factors) to which persons carrying out the jobs may be exposed. A time axis is often included to account for the temporal changes in exposures in jobs. JEMs can be either industry or community based, with the latter primarily used in community based case–control studies. Community based or general population JEMs have been used widely in occupational epidemiology over the past 25 years. The first reported JEM was published by Reed and Harcourt in 1941, but it was not until the early 1980s that systematic JEMs were first employed. A brief literature review indicates that there are at least 20 community based JEMs currently available for researchers. These JEMs use a range of standard or national job/industry classification schemes, with the ISCO/ISIC and SOC/SIC combinations being the most common. Key issues with the application of these JEMs are the quality of the job/industry information for coding, quality of the coders, and non-differential misclassification resulting from the use of the JEM. Studies that compare JEMs are invaluable in understanding the limitations and possible non-differential misclassification of particular JEMs. An example of a successful community based JEM that has been employed in Europe and Australia is FINJEM. Although FINJEM has been mainly used in cancer studies, …

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