TitleAssessing uncertainty in spatial exposure models for air pollution health effects assessment.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsMolitor, J, Jerrett, M, Chang, C-C, Molitor, N-T, Gauderman, J, Berhane, K, McConnell, R, Lurmann, F, Wu, J, Winer, A, Thomas, D
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Date Published2007 Aug
KeywordsVital Capacity

BACKGROUND: Although numerous epidemiologic studies now use models of intraurban exposure, there has been little systematic evaluation of the performance of different models. OBJECTIVES: In this present article we proposed a modeling framework for assessing exposure model performance and the role of spatial autocorrelation in the estimation of health effects. METHODS: We obtained data from an exposure measurement substudy of subjects from the Southern California Children's Health Study. We examined how the addition of spatial correlations to a previously described unified exposure and health outcome modeling framework affects estimates of exposure-response relationships using the substudy data. The methods proposed build upon the previous work, which developed measurement-error techniques to estimate long-term nitrogen dioxide exposure and its effect on lung function in children. In this present article, we further develop these methods by introducing between- and within-community spatial autocorrelation error terms to evaluate effects of air pollution on forced vital capacity. The analytical methods developed are set in a Bayesian framework where multistage models are fitted jointly, properly incorporating parameter estimation uncertainty at all levels of the modeling process. RESULTS: Results suggest that the inclusion of residual spatial error terms improves the prediction of adverse health effects. These findings also demonstrate how residual spatial error may be used as a diagnostic for comparing exposure model performance.