Beyond Physical Health Effects: Interpersonal and Community-Level Impacts of Chronic Chemical Contamination
Social Science & Medicine
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This paper contributes to the literature on community response to the announcement of well-established chemical contamination close to their homes. It describes a study of residents’ views of chemical contamination on a close and long-standing community in the context of impacts on everyday life. This followed the discovery early in 2000 that houses in Weston Village, in the County of Cheshire, England, were contaminated by the chemical hexachlorobutadiene which was seeping from a sealed chemical waste quarry owned by Imperial Chemical Industries, one of the world's largest chemical companies. Qualitative methods were used for the study. A total of 23 people from the village were interviewed in 15 focused, semi-structured interviews. This study highlights the importance of attention to secondary, community-level and interpersonal-level health impacts in the face of epidemiological uncertainty.