Monitoring environment, health and perception. An experimental survey on health and environment in Flanders, Belgium
The Centre of Expertise for Health and Environment started a biomonitoring campaign at the end of 2001, in Flanders (Belgium). The main purpose of this project, funded by the Flemish government, is to investigate the relationship between environmental pollution and human health. This is done by measuring pollutants and health effects in human beings. Social scientists cooperating with the environmental and health experts proposed to include a questionnaire on risk perception related to environment and health. Taking into account, risk perception is important with regard to risk communication, risk assessment and the management of complex issues such as health and environment. We present the results of our survey of 1,165 mothers of newborn babies, who participated in the first campaign of the biomonitoring. The perception research discussed in this paper can be evaluated as a successful experiment, with potential for further development and use.
Keywords: biomonitoring, interdisciplinarity, knowledge integration, participation, risk communication, risk perception, survey, transdisciplinarity, trust, Belgium, environmental pollution, human health, risk assessment, newborn babies, mothers