Epidemiological studies & methods

Our goal is to better understand the causes of human health risks from occupational and environmental exposures. 

Every day of our lives we encounter occupational and environmental exposures from chemicals, biological agents, stress, electronic devices, and many other sources.  For some agents, we have a strong understanding of the consequences of exposure.  However, for many hazards, there is a scarcity of direct human evidence of how people can be harmed. Therefore those who regulate and manage workplace and environmental risks often have to rely on extrapolation from toxicological studies.

Epidemiological investigations provide a way to help identify hazards and to characterise risks in humans. They rely on identifying associations between specific exposures and health conditions in defined human populations.

We have carried out epidemiological investigations since its inception, with the most important study having been the Pneumoconiosis Field Research study of coal miners, which confirmed the relationship between exposure to coal dust and the subsequent development of pneumoconiosis.  We have also carried out studies of quarry workers, coke oven workers, and ceramic fibres workers.  More recent examples include workers exposed to rubber, lead, hard-metal, and styrene.

Workers, employers, and governments, as well as the general public, need reassurance that health risks are properly controlled and that people are not being harmed by the work they do or from the environment where they live. 

We carry out research, including methodological development, to better understand these risks, using a multi-disciplinary team of scientists with specialist knowledge of:

  • Epidemiology
  • Exposure science
  • Toxicology
  • Ergonomics
  • Psychology
  • Statistics 
Since our inception, we have undertaken occupational and environmental epidemiology studies.  We have numerous historic studies and staff with a range of scientific skills that enables us to carry out leading-edge epidemiological investigations.

Key projects 

  • Pneumoconiosis Field Research study
  • Coke oven workers cohort study
  • Cohort study of British workers with blood lead measurements
  • Case-control study of workers in the semiconductor industry
  • Cohort study of workers in hard-metal industry
  • Cohort study of workers in the rubber and cable manufacturing industry

Sponsors we have worked for 

  • Health and Safety Executive 
  • Colt Foundation
  • International Tungsten Industry Association 
  • Cancer Research UK 
  • ECFIA
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