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Use of Bar Code Technology for Assessing Consumer Product Use and Dietary Consumption

Bennett, Deborah1; Teague, Candice1; Wu, Xiangmei1; Lee, Kiyoung2; Cassady, Diana1; Ritz, Beate3; Hertz-Picciotto, Irva1

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000391984.87693.f1
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; 2Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea; and 3University of California, Los Angeles, CA.

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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Determining the use of personal and household care products is of interest, both for use in epidemiology studies as well as in determining exposure for risk assessments. This talk evaluates the feasibility of collecting data by using bar code technology in home visits.

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As part of this study, a novel platform was developed that uses bar codes readily found on consumer products to quickly and reliably determine what products people have in their homes. In addition, we determined the change in mass of the product over a 1-week period to assess the potential magnitude of exposure to these products. This methodology was evaluated in a field study that included 47 California households, 30 with young children and 17 with older adults. We visited households during 4 separate weeks over a period of 16 months in order to also assess temporal variability in product use. Evaluation of the methodology was based on acceptability and feasibility.

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Results indicated that 63% of the personal care products and 87% of the household care products had readable barcodes. The distribution of mass used by product category and a comparison between inter- and intra-person variability is also presented. A very low drop-out rate suggests that this methodology can be useful in longitudinal studies of exposure to consumer products.

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With some changes to our protocol, this method appears to be very appropriate, acceptable, and useful for gathering information related to potential exposures stemming from the use of consumer products.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.