Effects of incomplete residential histories on studies of environmental exposure with application to childhood leukaemia and background radiation.

Nikkilä, Atte; Kendall, Gerald; Raitanen, Jani; Spycher, Ben; Lohi, Olli; Auvinen, Anssi (2018). Effects of incomplete residential histories on studies of environmental exposure with application to childhood leukaemia and background radiation. Environmental research, 166, pp. 466-472. Elsevier 10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.035

[img] Text
Nikkilä EnvironRes 2018.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (577kB) | Request a copy

When evaluating environmental exposures, residential exposures are often most relevant. In most countries, it is impossible to establish full residential histories. In recent publications, childhood leukaemia and background radiation have been studied with and without full residential histories. This paper investigates the consequences of lacking such full data. Data from a nationwide Finnish Case-Control study of Childhood Leukaemia and gamma rays were analysed. This included 1093 children diagnosed with leukaemia in Finland in 1990-2011. Each case was matched by gender and year of birth to three controls. Full residential histories were available. The dose estimates were based on outdoor background radiation measurements. The indoor dose rates were obtained with a dwelling type specific conversion coefficient and the individual time-weighted mean red bone marrow dose rates were calculated using age-specific indoor occupancy and the age and gender of the child. Radiation from Chernobyl fallout was included and a 2-year latency period assumed. The median separation between successive dwellings was 3.4 km and median difference in red bone marrow dose 2.9 nSv/h. The Pearson correlation between the indoor red bone marrow dose rates of successive dwellings was 0.62 (95% CI 0.60, 0.64). The odds ratio for a 10 nSv/h increase in dose rate with full residential histories was 1.01 (95% CI 0.97, 1.05). Similar odds ratios were calculated with dose rates based on only the first dwelling (1.02, 95% CI 0.99, 1.05) and only the last dwelling (1.00, 95% CI 0.98, 1.03) and for subjects who had lived only in a single dwelling (1.05, 95% CI 0.98, 1.10). Knowledge of full residential histories would always be the option of choice. However, due to the strong correlation between exposure estimates in successive dwellings and the uncertainty about the most relevant exposure period, estimation of overall exposure level from a single address is also informative. Error in dose estimation is likely to cause some degree of classical measurement error resulting in bias towards the null.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Spycher, Ben


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Tanya Karrer

Date Deposited:

05 Jul 2018 12:26

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 07:30

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Childhood leukaemia Exposure assessment Residential history





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback