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Estimating Error in Using Residential Outdoor PM2.5 Concentrations as Proxies for Personal Exposures: A Meta-Analysis


Avery, Christy L.; Mills, Katherine T.; Williams, Ronald W.; McGraw, Kathleen A.; Poole, Charles L.; Smith, Richard L.; & Whitsel, Eric A. (2010). Estimating Error in Using Residential Outdoor PM2.5 Concentrations as Proxies for Personal Exposures: A Meta-Analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(5), 673-678. PMCID: PMC2866684


BACKGROUND: Studies examining the health effects of particulate matter OBJECTIVES: We systematically reviewed the correlation between residential outdoor PM2.5 and personal PM2.5 (-rj) as a means of comparing the magnitude and sources of measurement error associated with their use as exposure surrogates.
METHODS: We searched seven electronic reference databases for studies of the within-participant residential outdoor-personal PM2.5 correlation.
RESULTS: The search identified 567 candidate studies, nine of which were abstracted in duplicate, that were published between 1996 and 2008. They represented 329 nonsmoking participants 6-93 years of age in eight U.S. cities, among whom -rj was estimated (median, 0.53; range, 0.25-0.79) based on a median of seven residential outdoor-personal PM2.5 pairs per participant. We found modest evidence of publication bias (symmetric funnel plot; pBegg = 0.4; pEgger = 0.2); however, we identified evidence of heterogeneity (Cochran's Q-test p = 0.05). Of the 20 characteristics examined, earlier study midpoints, eastern longitudes, older mean age, higher outdoor temperatures, and lower personal-residential outdoor PM2.5 differences were associated with increased within-participant residential outdoor-personal PM2.5 correlations.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings were similar to those from a contemporaneous meta-analysis that examined ambient-personal PM2.5 correlations (rj = median, 0.54; range, 0.09-0.83). Collectively, the meta-analyses suggest that residential outdoor-personal and ambient-personal PM2.5 correlations merit greater consideration when evaluating the potential for bias in studies of PM2.5-mediated health effects.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Environmental Health Perspectives


Avery, Christy L.
Mills, Katherine T.
Williams, Ronald W.
McGraw, Kathleen A.
Poole, Charles L.
Smith, Richard L.
Whitsel, Eric A.