Video methods in the quantification of children's exposures

Alesia C. Ferguson, Robert A. Canales, Paloma Beamer, Willa Auyeung, Maya Key, Amy Munninghoff, Kevin Tse Wing Lee, Alexander Robertson, James O. Leckie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


In 1994, Stanford University's Exposure Research Group (ERG) conducted its first pilot study to collect micro-level activity time series (MLATS) data for young children. The pilot study involved videotaping four children of farm workers in the Salinas Valley of California and converting their videotaped activities to valuable text files of contact behavior using video-translation techniques. These MLATS are especially useful for describing intermittent dermal (i.e., second-by-second account of surfaces and objects contacted) and non-dietary ingestion (second-by-second account of objects or hands placed in the mouth) contact behavior. Second-by-second records of children contact behavior are amenable to quantitative and statistical analysis and allow for more accurate model estimates of human exposure and dose to environmental contaminants. Activity patterns data for modeling inhalation exposure (i.e., accounts of microenvironments visited) can also be extracted from the MLATS data. Since the pilot study, ERG has collected an immense MLATS data set for 92 children using more developed and refined videotaping and video-translation methodologies. This paper describes all aspects required for the collection of MLATS including: subject recruitment techniques, videotaping and video-translation processes, and potential data analysis. This paper also describes the quality assurance steps employed for these new MLATS projects, including: training, data management, and the application of interobserver and intraobserver agreement during video translation. The discussion of these issues and ERG's experiences in dealing with them can assist other groups in the conduct of research that employs these more quantitative techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Dermal exposure
  • Interobserver agreement
  • Microlevel activity patterns
  • Observational data
  • Video translation
  • Videotaping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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