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Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 49–66 | Cite as

Improving exposure assessment in environmental epidemiology: Application of spatio-temporal visualization tools

  • Jaymie R. MelikerEmail author
  • Melissa J. Slotnick
  • Gillian A. AvRuskin
  • Andrew Kaufmann
  • Geoffrey M. Jacquez
  • Jerome O. Nriagu
Article

Abstract.

A thorough assessment of human exposure to environmental agents should incorporate mobility patterns and temporal changes in human behaviors and concentrations of contaminants; yet the temporal dimension is often under-emphasized in exposure assessment endeavors, due in part to insufficient tools for visualizing and examining temporal datasets. Spatio-temporal visualization tools are valuable for integrating a temporal component, thus allowing for examination of continuous exposure histories in environmental epidemiologic investigations. An application of these tools to a bladder cancer case-control study in Michigan illustrates continuous exposure life-lines and maps that display smooth, continuous changes over time. Preliminary results suggest increased risk of bladder cancer from combined exposure to arsenic in drinking water (>25 μg/day) and heavy smoking (>30 cigarettes/day) in the 1970s and 1980s, and a possible cancer cluster around automotive, paint, and organic chemical industries in the early 1970s. These tools have broad application for examining spatially- and temporally-specific relationships between exposures to environmental risk factors and disease.

Keywords

GIS exposure Epidemiology Arsenic STIS 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaymie R. Meliker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Melissa J. Slotnick
    • 1
  • Gillian A. AvRuskin
    • 2
  • Andrew Kaufmann
    • 2
  • Geoffrey M. Jacquez
    • 2
  • Jerome O. Nriagu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.BioMedware Inc.Ann ArborUSA

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