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Causal Modeling in Environmental Health

July 27, 2020
This article reviews existing causal methods used in environmental health and discusses the impact of different causal models on estimated effects of disinfection byproducts on preterm birth. It also discusses the weight of causal evidence for the associations between environmental exposure and a health outcome. In Section 2, this article proposes a historical perspective on causal modeling in environmental health with a large focus on air pollution. Section 3 discusses fundamental concepts and potential issues when modeling the observed data with regression. Section 4 presents a non-exhaustive review of the causal modeling methods used in the field of environmental health, with again a focus on air pollution epidemiology. Finally, Section 5 discusses the future of causal modeling in environmental health in the era of big data, machine learning, and greatly improved computational power.