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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2008;132(2):148-55. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncn268. Epub 2008 Oct 16.

Assessment of environmental exposures from agricultural pesticides in childhood leukaemia studies: challenges and opportunities.

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Department of Epidemiology, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, UCLA, School of Public Health, Box 951772, 650 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, USA.


Pesticides are ubiquitous in environments of many rural communities due to drift from agricultural applications and home/garden use. Studies of childhood leukaemia predominantly relied on retrospective pesticide exposure assessment and parental recall of use or proximity to fields or pesticide applications. Sample size requirements mostly preclude the collection of individual-level exposure information, biomarkers or environmental measurements of pesticides prospectively in cohorts. Yet such measures can be used in nested case-control approaches or for validating exposure models that can be applied to large populations. Recently developed models incorporate geographic information system technology and environmental databases of pesticide and/or crop data to assess exposure. Models developed in California to estimate residential exposures are presented by linking addresses to agricultural pesticide application data and land-use maps. Results from exposure validation and simulation studies and exposure measurement error issues are discussed.

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