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Bridging the gap: Exposure science and its implications for understanding health effects from exposures to air pollution

Date: 5 May, 2011

Most epidemiologic studies examining the health effects from exposure to ambient air
pollution use ecologic surrogates of population exposures. The validity of this practice and its
potential for introducing exposure misclassification bias into the observed epidemiologic results
has been widely debated. To address this issue, numerous exposure assessment studies
throughout the U.S. and Europe have been conducted to more fully characterize pollutant
spatiotemporal variability and factors affecting personal exposure. This presentation reviews the
major results from a subset of these exposure studies and summarizes the collective findings for
their impact on interpreting air pollution epidemiology. Directions for future exposure
assessment and epidemiology research, including estimating exposures to pollutant sources, trace
chemical components and complex mixtures will also be discussed.

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