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Overview of the SUPERB Study

Hertz-Picciotto, Irva1; Bennett, Deborah1; Ritz, Beate2; Cassady, Diana1; Lee, KiYoung3

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000391983.80069.32
Abstracts: ISEE 22nd Annual Conference, Seoul, Korea, 28 August–1 September 2010: Use of Technology in the SUPERB Study (Study of Use of Products and Exposure-Related Behaviors)

1University of California, Davis, CA; 2UCLA, Los Angeles, CA; and 3Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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The goal of the SUPERB Study is to evaluate new technologies and approaches for data collection to assess environmental exposures in large-scale population-based longitudinal epidemiologic studies, taking into account acceptability and feasibility, as measured by retention, compliance, reliability, and error rates.

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Three data collection modalities address exposure-related behaviors: the traditional annual computer-assisted telephone interview (Tier I); web-technology in a series of 18 monthly self-administered internet-based surveys (Tier II); hand-held device technology to collect passively data through home visits (Tier III). Domains of interest include food, consumer products, and time-activity information, with a special focus on pesticides, metals, phthalates, acrylamide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and benzene. The passive measures of exposure in Tier III involve weighing and scanning barcodes of food items, pesticides, and products for cleaning, personal care, and other uses. During this week of monitoring, a video camera in the kitchen records foods prepared, and subjects are asked to wear a GPS and activity monitor, as well as to collect food receipts. Participants are California residents and include young children and their parents, and older adults.

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A total of 680 households participated in Tier I, 250 households participated in Tier 2, and 45 households participated in Tier 3. The response rate was higher among older adults for tiers I and III (32%, 75%, and 52% for Tiers I, II, and III) compared to families (26%, 77%, and 34%). Retention in each tier was based on the extent of data completion and was greatest for Tier I older adults (95% had full data completion), Tier I families (87%), and Tier III families (90% vs. 76% among older adults). Tier II had full data completion rates of 60% and 63% for families and older adults, respectively.

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Passive monitoring methods and internet survey collection were found to be promising methods for collecting exposure-related behaviors.

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