Exposure matrix development for the Libby cohort

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The Libby, MT, cohort includes current and former residents with potential historical exposure to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite. This cohort includes individuals with a broad range of exposure experiences and work histories. While both occupational and nonoccupational exposure pathways were found to be relevant in recent investigations of health effects among this cohort, there has not been a comprehensive approach to characterizing these varied exposure pathways. Any approach toward assessing historical exposures among this population must account for three general categories: (1) occupational exposures, (2) residential exposures, and (3) exposures related to a variety of nonoccupational activities thought to be associated with vermiculite/asbestos exposure in this community. First, a job exposure matrix is commonly used in occupational epidemiology to assess historical worker exposures, allowing for the incorporation of numerous occupational categories and weighting factors applied to specific jobs for different time periods. Second, residential exposures can best be quantified by integrating individuals' residential histories with data on environmental asbestos contamination in the community. Previous soil or sediment sampling as well as air modeling could inform estimates of time- and spatial-dependent exposure concentrations for a residential exposure matrix. Finally, exposure opportunities due to nonoccupational activities could be weighted by factors such as time, geography, environmental sampling, and an assessment of the relative importance for each pathway. These three matrices for occupational, residential, and activity exposure pathways could be combined or used separately to provide a more comprehensive and quantitative, or semiquantitative, assessment of individual exposure in future epidemiological studies of this cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-967
Number of pages5
JournalInhalation Toxicology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006

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