Title

The Look of the Lawn: Pesticide Policy-Preference and Health Risk Perception in Context

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Journal

Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy

Volume

27

First Page

468

Last Page

490

URL with Digital Object Identifier

doi:10.1068/c0809

Abstract

In this paper we report on the results of a residential questionnaire survey (N=1088) exploring the relative importance of health-risk perception as compared with social – contextual determinants of urban pesticide bylaw support in two Canadian cities: Calgary and Halifax. Multivariate analysis was used in order to determine the model estimates for five outcome variables: pesticide policy preference, pesticide-risk perception, a weed-free aesthetic, pesticide use, and chemical dissent. Findings indicate that the strongest determinants (based on relative odds) of pesticide preference are pesticide-free yard-care practices and divergent lawn aesthetics (eg pesticide-free versus weed-free yards). Though risk perception does help distinguish between differences in policy preferences, pesticide use, and chemical dissent, it does not for aesthetic preferences. Pesticide bylaw preference is more than just a health-risk perception issue; it is also situated in the experiences of residents’ everyday lives (eg yard care) where decisions about pesticide use are made.

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