exposure data were compared to risk patterns for miners with the "poorer" exposure data. Criteria for the identification of subgroups having better quality exposure data were based on surrogate indicators, such as calendar year of first employment, calendar year of follow-up, age at first employment, or exposure rate. Another approach was to limit analyses to miners with the more extensive measurement data. In more recent years, some mining companies have developed individual estimates of exposure, using increasingly extensive radon progeny measurement data and detailed information on exposure-time and work location. This era of improved exposure assessment temporally corresponds to the lower radon progeny levels in modern mines and corresponding lower total exposure values (Jhm-3 or WLM), compared with earlier years. In addition, relatively few miners started working after the improved exposure assessment procedures were put in place. Thus, information on risks to these more contemporary miners is still limited.
For a truly linear exposure-response relationship, it is widely recognized that misspecification of exposures tends to reduce the gradient of the trend, and to induce curvilinearity, from below. However, it is less well-recognized that misspecification of exposure does not always bias the exposure-response towards the null (Dosemeci and others 1990), although with the error patterns that prevail among the miner data sets, error would be unlikely to steepen the exposure-response relationship. With multiple exposure variables subject to error, for example, exposure to radon progeny, exposure to arsenic-containing dusts and cigarette-smoking, correlations among the variables could lead to either positive or negative bias in the radon progeny exposure-response relationship.
Interpretation of analyses of the miner data is further complicated by the relationships among radon progeny level, calendar year, and degree of error. High radon progeny levels generally occurred in the earliest years of operations of the mines and the high levels tended to occur during an era with limited numbers of measurements, incomplete coverage of work areas, and measurements of radon rather than radon progeny. In addition, work histories were usually less accurate in the early years of mining operations. Moreover, improvements in ventilation and reduction of radon levels were generally carried out over an extended period of time. Any attempt in analysis to designate specific years as "good" versus "bad" with regard to data quality is of necessity a substantial oversimplification.
Exposure estimation required work history information on time spent underground, which in most of the studies was obtained from company employment or medical history records. Thus, errors in the estimation of radon progeny exposure depended on the completeness and accuracy of these data. Exposure estimation was further compromised in some studies by lack of information on exposures that occurred outside the recorded work periods, and prior or subsequent to employment in the study mines. For example, some miners in the Colorado