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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Use of GIS and exposure modeling as tools in a study of cancer incidence in a population exposed to airborne dioxin.

In environmental health research there is a recognized need to develop improved epidemiologic and statistical methods for rapid assessment of relationships between environment and health. Exposure assessment is identified as a major challenge needing attention. In this study an exposure simulation model was used to delimit almost exactly in space and time an urban population exposed to airborne dioxin. A geographic information system (GIS) was used as the electronic environment in which to link the exposure model with the demographic, migration, and cancer data of the exposed population. This information is available in Denmark on an individual basis. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for both men and women in 10-year age bands were calculated for three different exposure areas. Migration patterns were outlined. SIRs showed no excess of cancer incidences during the time span chosen (13 years; 1986-1998) in the whole exposed area or in the medium or higher polluted areas. The exposure model appeared very useful in selection of the appropriate exposure areas. The integration of the model in a GIS together with individual data on addresses, sex, age, migration, and information from routine health statistics (Danish Cancer Registry) proved its usefulness in demarking the exposed population and identifying the cancers related to that population. Less than one-third of the study population lived at the same address after 13 years of observation, and only half were still residing in the area, indicating migration of people as a major misclassification.[1]


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