Exposure assessment in the National Children's Study: introduction

Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Aug;113(8):1076-82. doi: 10.1289/ehp.7613.


The science of exposure assessment is relatively new and evolving rapidly with the advancement of sophisticated methods for specific measurements at the picogram per gram level or lower in a variety of environmental and biologic matrices. Without this measurement capability, environmental health studies rely on questionnaires or other indirect means as the primary method to assess individual exposures. Although we use indirect methods, they are seldom used as stand-alone tools. Analyses of environmental and biologic samples have allowed us to get more precise data on exposure pathways, from sources to concentrations, to routes, to exposure, to doses. They also often allow a better estimation of the absorbed dose and its relation to potential adverse health outcomes in individuals and in populations. Here, we make note of various environmental agents and how best to assess exposure to them in the National Children's Study--a longitudinal epidemiologic study of children's health. Criteria for the analytical method of choice are discussed with particular emphasis on the need for long-term quality control and quality assurance measures.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens / analysis
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inorganic Chemicals / analysis
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency


  • Allergens
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Inorganic Chemicals
  • Organic Chemicals