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Title: Reliability and validity of expert assessment based on airborne and urinary measures of nickel and chromium exposure in the electroplating industry.
Authors: Chen YC,  Coble JB,  Deziel NC,  Ji BT,  Xue S,  Lu W,  Stewart PA,  Friesen MC
Journal: J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol
Date: 2014 Nov
Branches: OEEB
PubMed ID: 24736099
PMC ID: PMC4199939
Abstract: The reliability and validity of six experts' exposure ratings were evaluated for 64 nickel-exposed and 72 chromium-exposed workers from six Shanghai electroplating plants based on airborne and urinary nickel and chromium measurements. Three industrial hygienists and three occupational physicians independently ranked the exposure intensity of each metal on an ordinal scale (1-4) for each worker's job in two rounds: the first round was based on responses to an occupational history questionnaire and the second round also included responses to an electroplating industry-specific questionnaire. The Spearman correlation (r(s)) was used to compare each rating's validity to its corresponding subject-specific arithmetic mean of four airborne or four urinary measurements. Reliability was moderately high (weighted kappa range=0.60-0.64). Validity was poor to moderate (r(s)=-0.37-0.46) for both airborne and urinary concentrations of both metals. For airborne nickel concentrations, validity differed by plant. For dichotomized metrics, sensitivity and specificity were higher based on urinary measurements (47-78%) than airborne measurements (16-50%). Few patterns were observed by metal, assessment round, or expert type. These results suggest that, for electroplating exposures, experts can achieve moderately high agreement and (reasonably) distinguish between low and high exposures when reviewing responses to in-depth questionnaires used in population-based case-control studies.