Current Environmental Health Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 472–480 | Cite as

Incorporating Measurement Error from Modeled Air Pollution Exposures into Epidemiological Analyses

Air Pollution and Health (S Adar and B Hoffmann, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Air Pollution and Health


Purpose of review

Outdoor air pollution exposures used in epidemiological studies are commonly predicted from spatiotemporal models incorporating limited measurements, temporal factors, geographic information system variables, and/or satellite data. Measurement error in these exposure estimates leads to imprecise estimation of health effects and their standard errors. We reviewed methods for measurement error correction that have been applied in epidemiological studies that use model-derived air pollution data.

Recent findings

We identified seven cohort studies and one panel study that have employed measurement error correction methods. These methods included regression calibration, risk set regression calibration, regression calibration with instrumental variables, the simulation extrapolation approach (SIMEX), and methods under the non-parametric or parameter bootstrap. Corrections resulted in small increases in the absolute magnitude of the health effect estimate and its standard error under most scenarios.


Limited application of measurement error correction methods in air pollution studies may be attributed to the absence of exposure validation data and the methodological complexity of the proposed methods. Future epidemiological studies should consider in their design phase the requirements for the measurement error correction method to be later applied, while methodological advances are needed under the multi-pollutants setting.


Air pollution Bootstrap Health Measurement error Regression calibration SIMEX 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Richard Atkinson for his valuable review and comments on this paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Evangelia Samoli and Barbara Butland declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Medical SchoolNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Population Health Research Institute and MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and HealthSt George’s, University of LondonLondonUK

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