Americans See Chemicals as Growing Threat
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Holmes Report
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Americans See Chemicals as Growing Threat

A majority (58 percent) of U.S. adults believe that chemicals and pollutants are more of a threat today than they were 10 years ago, according to a recent Harris poll.

Paul Holmes

A majority (58 percent) of U.S. adults believe that chemicals and pollutants are more of a threat today than they were 10 years ago, according to a recent Harris poll.

The public appears to be more worried about certain outdoor air pollutants and chemicals than those indoors but about one in five (21 percent) adults report that they or someone in their household has experienced a chronic health problem (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.

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 percent) of adults are very worried and another 40 percent are somewhat worried about chemicals or pesticides that are used to grow the foods they eat; one in four (25 percent) are very worried and 38 percent are somewhat worried about chemicals from manufacturing sites or other industrial sites that might contaminate the soil, water or air around their home; and 22 percent are very worried about outdoor air pollution caused by vehicles, power plants, manufacturing and other man-made sources.

Fourteen percent (14 percent) are very worried and 36 percent are somewhat worried about indoor air pollutants such as chemicals in furnishings, carpeting, paints, construction materials, and 13 percent 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 percent) is somewhat worried about Radon.

A majority (61 percent) 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 percent)
• Purchasing air purifiers or other types of ventilation systems to eliminate indoor pollutants from their home (34 percent)
• Purchasing organic produce or other foods (24 percent)
• Using chemical-free paints, furnishings or other construction materials in their home (17 percent)
• Having their homes tested for radon, lead, asbestos or other indoor pollutants (13 percent)
• Moving to another location, such as changing homes, jobs, etc. (6 percent)

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