Background: The Airwave Health Monitoring Study aims to investigate the possible long-term health effects of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) use among the police forces in Great Britain. Here, we investigate whether objective data from the network operator could be used to correct for misreporting in self-reported data and expand the radio usage availability in our cohort.
Methods: We estimated average monthly usage of personal radio in the 12 months prior to enrolment from a missing value imputation model and evaluated its performance against objective and self-reported data. Factors associated with TETRA radio usage variables were investigated using Chi-square tests and analysis of variance.
Results: The imputed data were better correlated with objective than self-reported usage (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.72 vs. 0. 52 and kappa 0.56 [95% confidence interval 0.55, 0.56] vs. 0.46 [0.45, 0.47]), although the imputation model tended to under-estimate use for higher users. Participants with higher personal radio usage were more likely to be younger, men vs. women and officer vs. staff. The median average monthly usage level for the entire cohort was estimated to be 29.3 min (95% CI: [7.2, 66.6]).
Conclusion: The availability of objective personal radio records for a large proportion of users allowed us to develop a robust imputation model and hence obtain personal radio usage estimates for ~50,000 participants. This substantially reduced exposure misclassification compared to using self-reported data and will allow us to carry out analyses of TETRA usage for the entire cohort in future work.
Keywords: Occupational cohort; Occupational exposure; Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields; TETRA.
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