Objectives: The objective of this project was to construct a database of exposure measurements which would be used to retrospectively assess the intensity of various exposures in an epidemiological study of cancer risk among asphalt workers.
Methods: The database was developed as a stand-alone Microsoft Access 2.0 application, which could work in each of the national centres. Exposure data included in the database comprised measurements of exposure levels, plus supplementary information on production characteristics which was analogous to that used to describe companies enrolled in the study.
Results and discussion: The database has been successfully implemented in eight countries, demonstrating the flexibility and data security features adequate to the task. The database allowed retrieval and consistent coding of 38 data sets of which 34 have never been described in peer-reviewed scientific literature. We were able to collect most of the data intended. As of February 1999 the database consisted of 2007 sets of measurements from persons or locations. The measurements appeared to be free from any obvious bias.
Conclusions: The methodology embodied in the creation of the database can be usefully employed to develop exposure assessment tools in epidemiological studies.