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1.  Reproductive Factors, Exogenous Hormones, and Pancreatic Cancer Risk in the CTS 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;178(9):1403-1413.
Female steroid hormones are hypothesized to play a protective role in pancreatic cancer risk. However, results from epidemiologic studies that examined hormone-related exposures have been inconsistent. The California Teachers Study is a cohort study of female public school professionals that was established in 1995–1996. Of the 118,164 eligible study participants, 323 women were diagnosed with incident invasive pancreatic cancer through December 31, 2009. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression methods were used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the association of pancreatic cancer risk with reproductive factors and exogenous hormone use. Current users of estrogen-only therapy at baseline (1995–1996) had a lower risk of pancreatic cancer than did participants who had never used hormone therapy (hazard ratio = 0.59, 95% confidence interval: 0.42, 0.84). Use of estrogen-plus-progestin therapy was not associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer. A longer duration of oral contraceptive use (≥10 years of use compared with never use) was associated with an increased risk of cancer (hazard ratio = 1.72, 95% confidence interval: 1.19, 2.49). Reproductive factors, including age at menarche, parity, breastfeeding, and age at menopause, were not associated with pancreatic cancer risk. Our results suggest that increased estrogen exposure through estrogen-only therapy may reduce pancreatic cancer risk in women.
PMCID: PMC3813312  PMID: 24008905
hormone therapy; oral contraceptives; pancreatic cancer
2.  Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticide Applications and Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia 
Environmental research  2009;109(7):891-899.
Ambient exposure from residential proximity to applications of agricultural pesticides may contribute to the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Using residential histories collected from the families of 213 ALL cases and 268 matched controls enrolled in the Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study, the authors assessed residential proximity within a half-mile (804.5 meters) of pesticide applications by linking address histories with reports of agricultural pesticide use. Proximity was ascertained during different time windows of exposure, including the first year of life and the child’s lifetime through the date of diagnosis for cases or reference for controls. Agricultural pesticides were categorized a priori into groups based on similarities in toxicological effects, physicochemical properties, and target pests or uses. The effects of moderate and high exposure for each group of pesticides were estimated using conditional logistic regression. Elevated ALL risk was associated with lifetime moderate exposure, but not high exposure, to certain physicochemical categories of pesticides, including organophosphates, cholorinated phenols, and triazines, and with pesticides classified as insecticides or fumigants. A similar pattern was also observed for several toxicological groups of pesticides. These findings suggest future directions for the identification of specific pesticides that may play a role in the etiology of childhood leukemia.
PMCID: PMC2748130  PMID: 19700145
Agricultural pesticides; cancer; childhood leukemia; environmental exposure; geographic information systems
3.  Determinants and Within-Person Variability of Urinary Cadmium Concentrations among Women in Northern California 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2013;121(6):643-649.
Background: Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic metal associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Urinary Cd (U-Cd) concentration is considered a biomarker of long-term exposure.
Objectives: Our objectives were to evaluate the within-person correlation among repeat samples and to identify predictors of U-Cd concentrations.
Methods: U-Cd concentrations (micrograms per liter) were measured in 24-hr urine samples collected from 296 women enrolled in the California Teachers Study in 2000 and a second 24-hr sample collected 3–9 months later from 141 of the participants. Lifestyle and sociodemographic characteristics were obtained via questionnaires. The Total Diet Study database was used to quantify dietary cadmium intake based on a food frequency questionnaire. We estimated environmental cadmium emissions near participants’ residences using a geographic information system.
Results: The geometric mean U-Cd concentration was 0.27 µg/L and the range was 0.1–3.6 µg/L. The intraclass correlation among repeat samples from an individual was 0.50. The use of a single 24-hr urine specimen to characterize Cd exposure in a case–control study would result in an observed odds ratio of 1.4 for a true odds ratio of 2.0. U-Cd concentration increased with creatinine, age, and lifetime pack-years of smoking among ever smokers or lifetime intensity-years of passive smoking among nonsmokers, whereas it decreased with greater alcohol consumption and number of previous pregnancies. These factors explained 42–44% of the variability in U-Cd concentrations.
Conclusion: U-Cd levels varied with several individual characteristics, and a single measurement of U-Cd in a 24-hr sample did not accurately reflect medium- to long-term body burden.
PMCID: PMC3672909  PMID: 23552363
cadmium; biomarkers; diet; exposure science; GIS
4.  Nativity and papillary thyroid cancer incidence rates among Hispanic women in California 
Cancer  2011;118(1):216-222.
Overall, the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer in Hispanic women residing in the United States (US) is similar to that of non-Hispanic white women. However, little is known as to whether rates in Hispanic women vary by nativity, which may influence exposure to important risk factors.
Nativity-specific incidence rates among Hispanic women were calculated for papillary thyroid cancer using data from the California Cancer Registry (CCR) for the period 1988–2004. For the 35% of cases for whom birthplace information was not available from the CCR, nativity was statistically imputed based on age at Social Security number issuance. Population estimates were extracted based on US Census data. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were also estimated.
In young (age <55 years) Hispanic women, the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among US-born (10.65 per 100,000) was significantly greater than that for foreign-born (6.67 per 100,000; IRR=1.60, 95% CI: 1.44–1.77). The opposite pattern was observed in older women. The age-specific patterns showed marked differences by nativity: among foreign-born, rates increased slowly until age 70 years, whereas, among US-born, incidence rates peaked during the reproductive years. Incidence rates increased over the study period in all subgroups.
Incidence rates of papillary thyroid cancer vary by nativity and age among Hispanic women residing in California. These patterns can provide insight for future etiologic investigations of modifiable risk factors for this increasingly common and understudied cancer.
PMCID: PMC3179782  PMID: 21692062
papillary thyroid cancer; incidence rates; nativity; Hispanic women; cancer surveillance
5.  Papillary thyroid cancer incidence rates vary significantly by birthplace in Asian American women 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2011;22(3):479-485.
To investigate how birthplace influences the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among Asian American women.
Birthplace- and ethnic-specific age-adjusted and age-specific incidence rates were calculated using data from the California Cancer Registry for the period 1988–2004. Birthplace was statistically imputed for 30% of cases using a validated imputation method based on age at Social Security number issuance. Population estimates were obtained from the US Census. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for foreign-born vs. US-born women.
Age-adjusted incidence rates of papillary thyroid cancer among Filipina (13.7 per 100,000) and Vietnamese (12.7) women were more than double those of Japanese women (6.2). US-born Chinese (IRR=0.48, 95% CI: 0.40–0.59) and Filipina women (IRR=0.74, 95% CI: 0.58–0.96) had significantly higher rates than those who were foreign-born; the opposite was observed for Japanese women (IRR=1.55, 95% CI: 1.17–2.08). The age-specific patterns among all foreign-born Asian women and US-born Japanese women showed a slow steady increase in incidence until age 70. However, among US-born Asian women (except Japanese), substantially elevated incidence rates during the reproductive and menopausal years were evident.
Ethnic- and birthplace-variation in papillary thyroid cancer incidence can provide insight into the etiology of this increasingly common and understudied cancer.
PMCID: PMC3291661  PMID: 21207130
papillary thyroid cancer; incidence rates; birthplace; Asian American women; cancer surveillance
6.  Determinants of Agricultural Pesticide Concentrations in Carpet Dust 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2011;119(7):970-976.
Background: Residential proximity to agricultural pesticide applications has been used as a surrogate for exposure in epidemiologic studies, although little is known about the relationship with levels of pesticides in homes.
Objective: We identified determinants of concentrations of agricultural pesticides in dust.
Methods: We collected samples of carpet dust and mapped crops within 1,250 m of 89 residences in California. We measured concentrations of seven pesticides used extensively in agriculture (carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, chlorthal-dimethyl, diazinon, iprodione, phosmet, and simazine). We estimated use of agricultural pesticides near residences from a statewide database alone and by linking the database with crop maps. We calculated the density of pesticide use within 500 and 1,250 m of residences for 180, 365, and 730 days before collection of dust and evaluated relationships between agricultural pesticide use estimates and pesticide concentrations in carpet dust.
Results: For five of the seven pesticides evaluated, residences with use of agricultural pesticides within 1,250 m during the previous 365 days had significantly higher concentrations of pesticides than did residences with no nearby use. The highest correlation with concentrations of pesticides was generally for use reported within 1,250 m of the residence and 730 days before sample collection. Regression models that also accounted for occupational and home use of pesticides explained only a modest amount of the variability in pesticide concentrations (4–28%).
Conclusions: Agricultural pesticide use near residences was a significant determinant of concentrations of pesticides in carpet dust for five of seven pesticides evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3222988  PMID: 21330232
agriculture; dust; exposure; GIS; pesticides
7.  Residential Traffic Density and Childhood Leukemia Risk 
Exposures to carcinogenic compounds from vehicle exhaust may increase childhood leukemia risk, and the timing of this exposure may be important.
We examined the association between traffic density and childhood leukemia risk for three time periods: birth, time of diagnosis, and lifetime average, based on complete residential history in a case-control study. Cases were rapidly ascertained from participating hospitals in northern and central California between 1995 and 2002. Controls were selected from birth records, individually matched on age, sex, race, and Hispanic ethnicity. Traffic density was calculated by estimating total vehicle miles traveled per square mile within a 500-foot (152 meter) radius area around each address. We used conditional logistic regression analyses to account for matching factors and to adjust for household income.
We included 310 cases of acute lymphocytic leukemias (ALL) and 396 controls in our analysis. The odds ratio for ALL and residential traffic density above the 75th percentile, compared with subjects with zero traffic density, was 1.17 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.76–1.81) for residence at diagnosis and 1.11 (95% CI, 0.70–1.78) for the residence at birth. For average lifetime traffic density, the odds ratio was 1.24 (95% CI, 0.74–2.08) for the highest exposure category.
Living in areas of high traffic density during any of the exposure time periods was not associated with increased risk of childhood ALL in this study.
PMCID: PMC2706505  PMID: 18768496
8.  Environmental Public Health Tracking of Childhood Asthma Using California Health Interview Survey, Traffic, and Outdoor Air Pollution Data 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2008;116(9):1254-1260.
Despite extensive evidence that air pollution affects childhood asthma, state-level and national-level tracking of asthma outcomes in relation to air pollution is limited.
Our goals were to evaluate the feasibility of linking the 2001 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), air monitoring, and traffic data; estimate associations between traffic density (TD) or outdoor air pollutant concentrations and childhood asthma morbidity; and evaluate the usefulness of such databases, linkages, and analyses to Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT).
We estimated TD within 500 feet of residential cross-streets of respondents and annual average pollutant concentrations based on monitoring station measurements. We used logistic regression to examine associations with reported asthma symptoms and emergency department (ED) visits/hospitalizations.
Assignment of TD and air pollution exposures for cross-streets was successful for 82% of children with asthma in Los Angeles and San Diego, California, Counties. Children with asthma living in high ozone areas and areas with high concentrations of particulate matter < 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter experienced symptoms more frequently, and those living close to heavy traffic reported more ED visits/hospitalizations. The advantages of the CHIS for asthma EPHT include a large and representative sample, biennial data collection, and ascertainment of important socio-demographic and residential address information. Disadvantages are its cross-sectional design, reliance on parental reports of diagnoses and symptoms, and lack of information on some potential confounders.
Despite limitations, the CHIS provides a useful framework for examining air pollution and childhood asthma morbidity in support of EPHT, especially because later surveys address some noted gaps. We plan to employ CHIS 2003 and 2005 data and novel exposure assessment methods to re-examine the questions raised here.
PMCID: PMC2535631  PMID: 18795172
air pollution; asthma; children; environmental public health tracking; epidemiology; geographic information system; traffic
9.  Historical pesticide exposure in California using pesticide use reports and land-use surveys: an assessment of misclassification error and bias. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2003;111(13):1582-1589.
We used California's Pesticide Use Report (PUR) and land-use survey data to conduct a simulation study evaluating the potential consequences of misclassifying residential exposure from proximity to agricultural pesticide application in health effect studies. We developed a geographic model linking the PUR with crop location data from land-use surveys to assess the impact of exposure misclassification from simpler exposure models based solely on PUR or land-use data. We simulated the random selection of population controls recruited into a hypothetical case-control study within an agricultural region. Using residential parcel data, we derived annual exposure prevalences, sensitivity, and specificity for five pesticides and relied on the PUR plus land-use model as the "gold standard." Based on these estimates, we calculated the attenuation of prespecified true odds ratios (ORs), assuming nondifferential exposure misclassification. True ORs were severely attenuated a) when residential exposure status was based on a larger geographic area yielding higher sensitivity but low specificity for exposure, in contrast to relying on a smaller area and increasing specificity; b) for less frequently applied pesticides; and c) with increasing mobility of residents among the study population. Considerable effect estimate attenuation also occurred when we used residential distance to crops as a proxy for pesticide exposure. Finally, exposure classifications based on annual instead of seasonal summaries of PUR resulted in highly attenuated ORs, especially during seasons when applications of specific pesticides were unlikely to occur. These results underscore the importance of increasing the spatiotemporal resolution of pesticide exposure models to minimize misclassification.
PMCID: PMC1241678  PMID: 14527836

Results 1-9 (9)