Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Fionna S. Mowat & Mona Shum & Michael A. Kelsh
Exposure assessment is a critical component of epidemiologic research, and unfortunately for many studies, it is this component that introduces many limitations. Exposure assessment has been defined by Last (2001) as the ‘process of estimating concentration or intensity, duration, and frequency of exposure to an agent that can affect health’ (p. 66). It involves preferably quantitative, but often qualitative, procedures to estimate and assign an individual's past or current exposures. Various types of exposures are studied in epidemiology. Some common examples are summarized in Table 1 . A person's behavior, dietary patterns, smoking history, family history, personal characteristics, and exercise are frequently studied in epidemiologic research as potential exposures, risk factors for exposure, and potential confounders. However, generally the area of exposure assessment in epidemiologic research refers to its application in occupational and environmental epidemiology. Exposure assessment is also used for purposes beyond epidemiologic research such as risk assessment and ...