Public Awareness and Risk Perceptions of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: A Qualitative Study

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Abstract

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are exogenous chemicals found in food, consumer products, and the environment. EDCs are ubiquitous in modern life and exposure is associated with many negative health effects, such as reproductive disorders, metabolic disorders, and cancer. Scientists have deemed EDCs as a serious public health risk, yet the public’s perceptions of these chemicals is poorly understood. This study aimed to qualitatively explore how aware the public is of EDCs and their attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of EDC risk. Thirty-four participants (aged 19–65 years) took part in the six focus groups. Discussions were transcribed verbatim and Nvivo 11 was used for thematic analysis. Our results indicated that awareness of EDCs was low. Themes of EDC risk perception included perceived control, perceived severity, and similarity heuristics. Risk alleviation strategies were also discussed. Future research should use quantitative methodology and a larger sample size to validate the findings from this study. Findings from this study may aid the development of effective risk communication strategies and public health interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number7778
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2020

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