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Book cover: Research in Social Problems and Public Policy

Research in Social Problems and Public Policy

ISSN: 0196-1152
Series editor(s): Professor Ted I. K. Youn.

Subject Area: Sociology and Public Policy

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Fish consumption and environmental justice in the great lakes: The influence of fish advisories on risk perception, knowledge, and behavior of white and minority anglers


Document Information:
Title:Fish consumption and environmental justice in the great lakes: The influence of fish advisories on risk perception, knowledge, and behavior of white and minority anglers
Author(s):Brenda J. Nordenstam, Sarah Darkwa
Volume:18 Editor(s): Dorceta E. Taylor ISBN: 978-0-85724-183-2 eISBN: 978-0-85724-184-9
Citation:Brenda J. Nordenstam, Sarah Darkwa (2010), Fish consumption and environmental justice in the great lakes: The influence of fish advisories on risk perception, knowledge, and behavior of white and minority anglers, in Dorceta E. Taylor (ed.) Environment and Social Justice: An International Perspective (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Volume 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.211-238
DOI:10.1108/S0196-1152(2010)0000018009 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item
Abstract:

Purpose – This study explores the relationship between fish consumption advisories and risk perception, knowledge, and behavior of anglers in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes contain elevated levels of critical pollutants and chemicals. Fish consumption advisories have been employed by health and environmental agencies to increase public awareness and lower exposure to contaminated fish caught in the Great Lakes. However, awareness and response to these advisories is not universal and may vary on the basis of sociocultural factors. Poor and minority anglers may be less aware of health advisories and more likely to exceed the recommended fish consumption limits than white anglers. Relying on health advisories as the primary mechanism for limiting exposure may not adequately meet environmental justice goals to protect the health and safety of all people.

Design/methodology/approach – One hundred and twenty Lake Ontario boating anglers were surveyed. Factors examined include awareness and source of health advisories; level of concern about health risks; and fish consumption rate and risk reduction behaviors.

Findings – Results indicate that ethnicity, age, and education influence awareness and response to health advisories. We conclude with suggestions to better address environmental injustices by strengthening the inclusion of local knowledge and participation in the decision-making and risk management process.

Practical implication – Findings have implications for the impact and future content of Great Lakes fish advisories.

Originality/value – There have been few comparative studies using socioeconomic factors, such as race and education, when addressing awareness of fish advisories and relative risk of toxicity from Great Lakes recreational boat anglers.


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