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Arch Environ Health. 1993 Mar-Apr;48(2):114-9.

Exposure misclassification due to residential mobility during pregnancy in epidemiologic investigations of congenital malformations.

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Battelle Memorial Institute Arlington, Virginia.


This study addressed the question of how maternal migration between conception and birth affects estimates of risk in studies of congenital malformations when movement is related to the exposure. For example, in studying the potential association between proximity to a chemical waste site and the occurrence of birth defects, incorrect inferences might be drawn if maternal residence at birth was used as a surrogate for exposure at conception in the case when a significant amount of media attention influenced some women to move away from the site after becoming pregnant. A simple statistical model is proposed that defines the distance to a fixed exposure point measured at birth as a function of the distance to the point measured at conception, the probability of movement, the direction of movement, and the distance moved. Bias is the difference between the expected results when distance is measured at birth versus conception. The amount of bias can be substantial for movement patterns that may be likely to occur. This simplified model was used in an effort to explore and better understand the relationships between maternal migration and risk.

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