Most U.S. adults think chemicals, pollutants more threat now than decade ago

Three in five adults have taken one or more steps to reduce their exposure to chemicals and pollutants. These are some of the results of a Harris Interactive online survey of 2,130 U.S. adults conducted between April 15 and 19, 2005 for The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition...

ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 26, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- A majority of U.S. adults -- 58% -- believe chemicals and pollutants are more of a threat to people like them now than they were 10 years ago.

The public appears to be more worried about certain outdoor air pollutants and chemicals than those indoors but about one in five (21%) adults report that they or someone in their household has experienced a chronic health problem (e.g., allergies, lung condition, chronic fatigue, etc.) attributed to indoor air pollutants or chemicals. Many adults are taking proactive steps to reduce their exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and pollutants.

These are some of the results of a Harris Interactive® online survey of 2,130 U.S. adults conducted between April 15 and 19, 2005 for The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition.

Many adults are very or somewhat worried about several types of outdoor and indoor chemicals or pollutants that might impact their health or the health of their immediate family.

* One-quarter (25%) of adults are very worried and another 40% are somewhat worried about chemicals or pesticides that are used to grow the foods they eat.
* One in four (25%) are very worried and 38% are somewhat worried about chemicals from manufacturing sites or other industrial sites that might contaminate the soil, water or air around their home.
* Twenty-two% (22%) are very worried about outdoor air pollution caused by vehicles, power plants, manufacturing and other man-made sources. A further 47% are somewhat worried about this.
* Fourteen% (14%) are very worried and 36% are somewhat worried about indoor air pollutants such as chemicals in furnishings, carpeting, paints, construction materials, etc.
* Thirteen% (13%) are very worried about Radon, a naturally-occurring gas that can accumulate in enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces such as basements and garages. An additional one-third (32%) is somewhat worried about Radon.

On a more positive note, a majority (61%) of adults report having taken one or more steps to reduce their exposure to chemicals or pollutants. Steps taken include:
* Purchasing natural or biodegradable cleaning products (34%)
* Purchasing air purifiers or other types of ventilation systems to eliminate indoor pollutants from their home (34%)
* Purchasing organic produce or other foods (24%)
* Using chemical-free paints, furnishings or other construction materials in their home (17%)
* Having their homes tested for radon, lead, asbestos or other indoor pollutants (13%)
* Moving to another location, such as changing homes, jobs, etc. (6%)
* Something else (7%).

Downloadable PDFs of Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Polls are posted at www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_wsj.asp (click on "News by Date: 2005" at top of column on right).

This poll was conducted online in the United States between April 15 and 19 among a nationwide cross section of 2,130 adults aged 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. The results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3% of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.

The Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll is an exclusive poll that's published in the award-winning Health Industry Edition of The Wall Street Journal Online at www.wsj.com/health.

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in future online surveys, visit www.harrispollonline.com.

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