Title
Hazard perception, risk perception and the need for decontamination by residents exposed to soil polution : the role of sustainability and the limits of expert knowledgeHazard perception, risk perception and the need for decontamination by residents exposed to soil polution : the role of sustainability and the limits of expert knowledge
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Publication type
article
Publication
New York,
Subject
Sociology
Source (journal)
Risk analysis / Society for Risk Analysis [New York] - New York
Volume/pages
28(2008):2, p. 387-798
ISSN
0272-4332
ISI
000255061900010
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Abstract
This case study examines the hazard and risk perception and the need for decontamination according to people exposed to soil pollution. Using an ecological-symbolic approach (ESA), a multidisciplinary model is developed that draws upon psychological and sociological perspectives on risk perception and includes ecological variables by using data from experts risk assessments. The results show that hazard perception is best predicted by objective knowledge, subjective knowledge, estimated knowledge of experts, and the assessed risks. However, experts risk assessments induce an increase in hazard perception only when residents know the urgency of decontamination. Risk perception is best predicted by trust in the risk management. Additionally, need for decontamination relates to hazard perception, risk perception, estimated knowledge of experts, and thoughts about sustainability. In contrast to the knowledge deficit model, objective and subjective knowledge did not significantly relate to risk perception and need for decontamination. The results suggest that residents can make a distinction between hazards in terms of the seriousness of contamination on the one hand, and human health risks on the other hand. Moreover, next to the importance of social determinants of environmental risk perception, this study shows that the output of experts risk assessmentsor the objective riskscan create a hazard awareness rather than an alarming risk consciousness, despite residents distrust of scientific knowledge.
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