While the importance of worker notification has been widely recognized, little attention has been paid to social and psychological contexts in which worker notification occurs, especially after the exposure has ended. This study explores workers' perspectives on exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a toxic material whose manufacture in the United States ended in 1977. Four focus groups were conducted with former workers (n = 29) who were exposed to PCBs. Verbatim transcriptions were analyzed. Participants considered living in the PCB-contaminated community more dangerous than handling PCBs on the job. While they firmly believed that PCBs in the environment caused serious health problems, participants expressed doubts about the toxicity of PCBs in the workplace. Both beliefs undermined the value of worker notification about occupational exposure to PCBs. A long-term relationship between workers and researchers would provide opportunities to cultivate better understanding of the hazard and facilitate the process of worker notification.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper explores reasons for difficulties in communicating risks among analysts, the laypublic, media, and regulators. Formulating risk communication problems as decisions involving objectives and alternatives helps to identify strategies for overcoming these difficulties. Several strategies are suggested to achieve risk communication objectives like improving public knowledge about risks and risk management, encouraging risk reduction behavior, understanding public values and concerns, and increasing trust and credibility.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies of risk perception examine the judgements people make when they are asked to characterize and evaluate hazardous activities
and technologies. This research aims to aid risk analysis and policy-making by providing a basis for understanding and anticipating
public responses to hazards and improving the communication of risk information among lay people, technical experts, and decision-makers.
This work assumes that those who promote and regulate health and safety need to understand how people think about and respond
to risk. Without such understanding, well-intended policies may be ineffective.
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