School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date




INTEROCC is a seven-country cohort study of occupational exposures and brain cancer risk, including occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF). In the absence of data on individual exposures, a Job Exposure Matrix (JEM) may be used to construct likely exposure scenarios in occupational settings. This tool was constructed using statistical summaries of exposure to EMF for various occupational categories for a comparable group of workers.


In this study, we use the Canadian data from INTEROCC to determine the best EMF exposure surrogate/estimate from three appropriately chosen surrogates from the JEM, along with a fourth surrogate based on Berkson error adjustments obtained via numerical approximation of the likelihood function. In this article, we examine the case in which exposures are gamma-distributed for each occupation in the JEM, as an alternative to the log-normal exposure distribution considered in a previous study conducted by our research team. We also study using those surrogates and the Berkson error adjustment in Poisson regression and conditional logistic regression.


Simulations show that the introduced methods of Berkson error adjustment for non-stratified analyses provide accurate estimates of the risk of developing tumors in case of gamma exposure model. Alternatively, and under some technical assumptions, the arithmetic mean is the best surrogate when a gamma-distribution is used as an exposure model. Simulations also show that none of the present methods could provide an accurate estimate of the risk in case of stratified analyses.


While our previous study found the geometric mean to be the best exposure surrogate, the present study suggests that the best surrogate is dependent on the exposure model; the arithmetic means in case of gamma-exposure model and the geometric means in case of log-normal exposure model. However, we could present a better method of Berkson error adjustment for each of the two exposure models. Our results provide useful guidance on the application of JEMs for occupational exposure assessments, with adjustment for Berkson error.


Copyright © 2023, The Author(s)

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

BMC Medical Research Methodology



Included in

Mathematics Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.