Who cares about water pollution? Opinions in a small-town crisis
A survey was conducted in a small New England town following the discovery that the town's water supply had become contaminated by industrial chemicals. Principal findings include: (1) respondents from more affluent households were more concerned about the pollution problem; (2) long-term or older residents tended to be less concerned; and (3) women with young children viewed the problem as particularly serious. The first two findings are consistent with previous research on similar “technological catastrophes” and on environmental protection in general. The third finding has not appeared in environmental protection research, but it is consistent with reports from Three Mile Island. Such technological catastrophes transform environmental issues into safety issues, thereby raising parents’anxieties about the safety of their children–perhaps more so for women than for men. These safety concerns may eventually be generalized to broader environmental issues, as toxic waste and other disasters continue to occur.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Hamilton, L.C. 1985. “Who cares about water pollution? Opinions in a small-town crisis.”Sociological Inquiry 55(2):170–181.
© 1985, John Wiley and Sons