UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Linkage of national soil quality measurements to primary care medical records in England and Wales: a new resource for investigating environmental impacts on human health

Gibson, JE; Ander, EL; Cave, M; Bath-Hextall, F; Musah, A; Leonardi-Bee, J; (2018) Linkage of national soil quality measurements to primary care medical records in England and Wales: a new resource for investigating environmental impacts on human health. Population Health Metrics , 16 , Article 12. 10.1186/s12963-018-0168-2. Green open access

[thumbnail of s12963-018-0168-2.pdf]
Preview
Text
s12963-018-0168-2.pdf - Published Version

Download (851kB) | Preview

Abstract

Background Long-term, low-level exposure to toxic elements in soil may be harmful to human health but large longitudinal cohort studies with sufficient follow-up time to study these effects are cost-prohibitive and impractical. Linkage of routinely collected medical outcome data to systematic surveys of soil quality may offer a viable alternative. Methods We used the Geochemical Baseline Survey of the Environment (G-BASE), a systematic X-ray fluorescence survey of soil inorganic chemistry throughout England and Wales to obtain estimates of the concentrations of 15 elements in the soil contained within each English and Welsh postcode area. We linked these data to the residential postcodes of individuals enrolled in The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a large database of UK primary care medical records, to provide estimates of exposure. Observed exposure levels among the THIN population were compared with expectations based on UK population estimates to assess representativeness. Results Three hundred seventy-seven of three hundred ninety-five English and Welsh THIN practices agreed to participate in the linkage, providing complete residential soil metal estimates for 6,243,363 individuals (92% of all current and former patients) with a mean period of prospective computerised medical data collection (follow-up) of 6.75 years. Overall agreement between the THIN population and expectations was excellent; however, the number of participating practices in the Yorkshire & Humber strategic health authority was low, leading to restricted ranges of measurements for some elements relative to the known variations in geochemical concentrations in this area. Conclusions The linked database provides unprecedented population size and statistical power to study the effects of elements in soil on human health. With appropriate adjustment, results should be generalizable to and representative of the wider English and Welsh population.

Type: Article
Title: Linkage of national soil quality measurements to primary care medical records in England and Wales: a new resource for investigating environmental impacts on human health
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12963-018-0168-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12963-018-0168-2
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health, Environment and public health [N06], Residence characteristics [N06850505400800], Catchment area (health) [N06850505400800200], Soil [D20721] [G01311820] [N06230600], Elements [D01268], Medical record linkage [E05318308940968], Epidemiologic methods [N06850520], Censuses [N06850505400225], England [Z01639280300], Wales [Z01639280914], IMPROVEMENT NETWORK THIN, GREAT-BRITAIN, VALIDATION, DATABASE, UK, BIOACCESSIBILITY, CONTAMINATION, DIAGNOSES, TOPSOILS
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055305
Downloads since deposit
58Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item