The recent report of the epidemiologic study in Woburn, Massachusetts has focussed renewed attention upon the methods used by epidemiologists and other public health professionals in evaluating the health impact of environmental exposures. Much attention has been given to the statistical methods by which the data gathered in epidemiologic studies, both observational and demographic, should be analyzed. Epidemiologic methods have not been accorded as much attention, although the development and validation of such techniques is vital to the progress of environmental epidemiology. An annual meeting at which recent epidemiologic and statistical methodologic advances would be discussed could greatly help the epidemiologic community in quickly assimilating such knowledge. Less emphasis has also been given to the means by which those data are collected during the study. Several approaches to dealing with the problems faced by environmental epidemiologists in collecting data are discussed, such as the development of national population-based disease registries. The use of such national data sets, such as the NHANES and NHDS data bases, are also noted. An audit of the national vital statistics system is suggested, insofar as it can serve as an indicator of sentinel health events. Similar assessments of other national statistics systems, such as those maintained by the Centers for Disease Control, are also needed.
"Changing Research Methods in Environmental Epidemiology." Statist. Sci. 3 (3) 275 - 280, August, 1988. https://doi.org/10.1214/ss/1177012827