The Community Perceptions of Dioxins (CPOD) Study

This National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)-funded study seeks to explore the mental conceptualizations of risk of dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) among residents in Midland/Saginaw (M/S), Michigan who live in areas that have been exposed to DLCs. The information gathered in the CPOD study will be used for the purposes of improving risk communication strategies

The CPOD study is using a combination of in-depth qualitative "mental models" interviews (for comparison with an "expert" model) and a larger, population-based survey questionnaire to yield a rich base of knowledge and information about community members’ beliefs and understandings about dioxins and dioxin-related health risks. These data, in turn, will inform evidence-based recommendations for designing better, more appropriate risk communication messages for the community and for other dioxin exposure assessment studies. Specifically, we seek to distinguish between those dioxin-related concepts, facts, or beliefs are already well understood by most community members (which therefore could be minimized in future communications) from those misconceptions or factual omissions that most directly inhibit effective risk management by community members.

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