Media and Public Attention to Chemical Exposures and Disease Incidence

During the past several decades, media attention to chemical exposure issues and environmental health has ebbed and flowed. Media interest in chemical issues appears to be growing again, as suggested by the front page newspaper coverage in September and October 2003 addressing flame retardant breast milk in the United States. This drumbeat of media attention continued later in 2003. DuPont's production and use of a fluorinated chemical in Teflon production was featured on the U.S. ABC television network's 20:20 news magazine program in mid-November

2003, and the CBS network's news magazine program 60 Minutes focused in mid-December on allegations of links between chemicals used in production of IBM's computer chips and the incidence of cancer among IBM workers. In January

2004, scientists' findings of elevated levels of PCBs in farm-grown salmon, attributable to the use of contaminated feed, drew worldwide attention (Hites et al., 2004).

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