Objectives: A system that combines the ease of use of a job-exposure matrix while taking into account job-specific data is needed. This study aimed to produce a detailed method for combining interview data with expert assessments for a large population-based case-control study of Parkinson's disease.
Method: An interview-administered core questionnaire with a series of questions that triggers substance-specific questionnaires to gather information on key parameters is administered. Using a job-exposure matrix to generate base estimates, assessors can modify this estimate of exposure intensity using worker-specific data such as the use of control measures, reports of substance-specific acute symptoms, and the quantity of material being processed. Detailed guidance for making adjustments to exposure estimates for these modifiers is presented.
Results: The method has been partially validated through the use of a comparison of estimates for a separate cohort with previously validated exposure reconstructions. Agreement was high, with a Spearman's rho of 0.89 (P < 0.01). The results from a quality assurance system employed as part of the methodology show a high degree of repeatability in generated exposure values both over time (Spearman's rho 0.98, P < 0.01) and between different assessors (Spearman's rho 0.88, P < 0.01).
Conclusions: The method provides detailed quantitative exposure indices for occupational epidemiology. It has particular strengths both in terms of ease and speed of use. It is hoped that it will provide a useful structure for future epidemiologic work.