DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall objectives of the proposed research are (1) to refine models of potential exposures for use in
environmental epidemiology that are derived from Geographical Information
Systems (GIS) and (2) to assess the feasibility of application of the novel
exposure indices to a case-control study of childhood cancers in the
Southwestern Pennsylvania region. The proposed research will be accomplished
under the following specific aims: (1) a GIS-based, index of potential exposure
from hazardous sources will be refined for use in new and ongoing environmental
epidemiology studies. The novel approach uses directionally-dependent wind rose
frequencies and wind velocity in various combinations with toxic emission
quantities, emission toxicities and frequencies to calculate an index of
potential exposure from hazardous sources. (2) The potential exposure indices
will be calculated for administrative regions (census tracts and blocks) in
Southwestern Pennsylvania and compared with the indices calculated for
iso-density population centers and randomly distributed regions. (3) Stand
-alone algorithms will be created for use with GIS databases centered on other
regions of interest identified using the GIS-based Atlas of Cancer. (4) A
concurrent feasibility study for childhood cancer in a six-county region of
Southwestern Pennsylvania will be performed. This portion of the study will
determine the accessibility of relevant information for hospital-based cases
and controls in the six-county region and develop the necessary mechanisms for
mounting a full-scale case-control study using the novel potential exposure
indices. The GIS-derived potential exposure indices derived in this research
can be geographically referenced for use in GIS-based health studies in general
and also directly linked with the coordinates of individual cases and controls
in specific studies of disease. When the exposure estimates are coupled with
geographically-reference health data, such as published in the Atlas of Cancer,
this will crate an effective tool for (1) screening studies linking
environmental exposures with disease and (2) providing a relative exposure
measure for individuals in case-control studies of disease. Overall, the
simplified potential exposure indices will improve both environmental
epidemiological studies and the monitoring for purposes of disease control.
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