Public Awareness of Air Pollution and Infant Health in the United States

Authors: Qiong Zhang*, Michigan State University, Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences, Joseph Hamm, Michigan State University, School of Criminal Justice, Sue Grady, Michigan State University, Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, United States, Geography and Urban Health
Keywords: Maternal Health, Environment, Air Pollution, Health Sociology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Air pollution is the single greatest environmental health risk, which annually causes one in eight deaths worldwide. Numerous epidemiological studies in various countries on air pollution and health effects have showed that air pollution has both acute and chronic health impacts. While most studies focus on physical health, less is known about how the American public views the association between air pollution and infant health. The goal of this study is to investigate the U.S. public health perception, safety concerns, government attitudes, air pollution knowledge, and information seeking and protective behavior intentions.An online survey of n=600 adults was conducted to ask questions pertaining to these topics. The findings from this survey showed that people are concerned about air quality and the next generation as evidenced by increased levels of awareness, safety concerns and practices of protective behaviors from without to with the consideration of baby. Increased awareness was associated with public concern for air safety, public satisfaction of government’s protection and public knowledge of the health consequences. Safety concerns were associated with increased knowledge of the sources of air pollution and the role of the government in regulating these sources. Protective behavior intention means that people will feel safe about the quality of the air. This study found that in order to achieve this goal, more effort is needed in the areas of protective methods, removing learning barriers, increasing public perception of healthy air, and encouraging public participation on air quality monitoring.

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