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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(5), 1720-1734; doi:10.3390/ijerph10051720
Article

Need for Improved Risk Communication of Fish Consumption Advisories to Protect Maternal and Child Health: Influence of Primary Informants

1,* , 2
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1 Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, North Carolina State University, Box 7633, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA 2 UNC Institute for the Environment, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 137 E. Franklin Street, Suite 602, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA 3 Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 1912 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699, USA 4 Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University, Box 8203, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 March 2013 / Revised: 12 April 2013 / Accepted: 15 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
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Abstract

Fish consumption has established benefits, including the promotion of cardiovascular health and pre- and neonatal brain and eye development, but local freshwater fish may be a source of contaminants that are especially harmful to fetuses and young children, such as the neurotoxic and developmentally toxic methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyls. Fish consumption advisories may be issued by state health departments to limit human exposure to these and other toxicants. This study examined the efficacy of a sign designed by the North Carolina Division of Public Health that was posted along a reservoir (Badin Lake) in central North Carolina, USA, for increasing anglers’ awareness of a fish consumption advisory, with a special focus on anglers who share their catch with women and children. In this study, 109 anglers were interviewed about their awareness of fish consumption advisories in general and their knowledge of the Badin Lake fish advisory in particular. Shore anglers were significantly less likely to be aware of the term “fish consumption advisory” and of the specific advisory for Badin Lake than boat anglers. Although a significant increase in knowledge of the specific fish consumption advisory was found for the entire sample of study participants after the sign intervention, a commensurate increase in knowledge was not found for a subsample of anglers who reported sharing their catch with women and children. Study findings underscore differences in fish consumption advisory awareness among subpopulations. Specifically, the study revealed the importance of characterizing the communication needs of shore anglers and anglers who share their catch with sensitive subpopulations (e.g., women and children) for the creation of more targeted communications of fish consumption advisories.
Keywords: fish consumption; communication; fish advisory; pregnant women; children fish consumption; communication; fish advisory; pregnant women; children
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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LePrevost, C.E.; Gray, K.M.; Hernández-Pelletier, M.; Bouma, B.D.; Arellano, C.; Cope, W.G. Need for Improved Risk Communication of Fish Consumption Advisories to Protect Maternal and Child Health: Influence of Primary Informants. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 1720-1734.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert