Using national and local extant data to characterize environmental exposures in the national children's study: Queens County, New York.


Preexisting and continually evolving databases are available for use in the NCS to characterize exposure. The three levels of data we identified will be used to test a method for developing exposure indices for segments and homes during the pilot phase of NCS, as outlined in this article.

The National Children's Study is a long-term epidemiologic study of 100,000 children from 105 locations across the United States. It will require information on a large number of environmental variables to address its core hypotheses. The resources available to collect actual home and personal exposure samples are limited, with most of the home sampling completed on periodic visits and the personal sampling generally limited to biomonitoring. To fill major data gaps, extant data will be required for each study location. The Queens Vanguard Center has examined the extent of those needs and the types of data that are generally and possibly locally available.

In this review we identify three levels of data--national, state and county--and local data and information sets (levels 1-3, respectively), each with different degrees of availability and completeness, that can be used as a starting point for the extant data collection in each study location over time. We present an example on the use of this tiered approach, to tailor the data needs for Queens County and to provide general guidance for application to other NCS locations.

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