Record linkage and the identification of long-term environmental hazards

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Containing Papers of a Biological Character
E D Acheson


The long-term effects of toxic substances in man that have been discovered so far have involved gross relative risks or bizarre effects, or have stumbled upon by chance or because of special circumstances. These facts and some recent epidemiological evidence together suggest that a systematic approach with better methods would reveal the effects of many more toxic substances, particularly in manufacturing industry. Record linkage is a powerful tool because it makes possible the correlation of indicators of exposure with indicators of the biological effect of such exposure in the same persons or in their progeny even after considerable periods of time have elapsed. A system of linked records exists in England and Wales which is at present used by research workers to follow up samples of persons defined in various ways, e.g. in respect of exposure to a suspected toxic factor. In this way hypotheses about substances causing cancer or other lethal effects can be tested. It is suggested that there are two additional ways in which record linkage techniques could be used to identify substances with long-term toxic effects: the first would be by setting up a register of women employed in industry during pregnancy and linking this regis...Continue Reading


May 1, 1984·Archives of Environmental Health·W J Nicholson
Jan 1, 1986·Acta Radiologica. Oncology·K Wiklund, G Eklund
Nov 1, 1988·Medical Toxicology and Adverse Drug Experience·A J McMichael
Oct 1, 1986·British Journal of Urology·N J Blacklock
Jan 1, 1988·American Journal of Industrial Medicine·J AlhoE Sundquist

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