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Environmental Threat Perception in Southwest Pennsylvania: A Qualitative Study of Local Expert Opinion

Tiver, Greer Alyson (2010) Environmental Threat Perception in Southwest Pennsylvania: A Qualitative Study of Local Expert Opinion. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Much recent national and international focus has been placed on environmental threats and their relationship to ecological and public health concerns. In order to address problems at a local level, a Pittsburgh Regional Environmental Threat Analysis (PRETA) is presently underway. As part of this project, ten in-depth interviews were conducted with experts in environmental fields to collect a range of ideas and observations about local environmental threats from those who work with these issues regularly. Experts' individual perceptions on current environmental problems and priorities in the southwest Pennsylvania region were gathered and analyzed qualitatively. Interviews reveal major threats to ecology and public health, including threats: (1) to water quality by Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) and wet weather events, (2) to air, water, and human safety from coal combustion and processing, (3) of a lack of equity, or lack of environmental justice, and finally, (4) of new and unknown chemicals and contaminants in the water supply, again posing risks to the quality of water resources. Using open-ended questions, experts cited organizations involved in prevention or remediation of threats, and overall themes were discovered from interview material. Major areas broached by informants included prevention, improved policy and regulation, and improved public education. This assessment of the state of environmental threats in the southwest Pennsylvania region is significant to public health because of the strong impacts that environmental issues have on the short and long-term physical and mental health of the population. By gathering threat perceptions and recommendations from local experts, this study notes the current state of affairs, informs the larger PRETA project, and creates a launch point for further work in ecological and environmental public health improvement.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tiver, Greer
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberKeane, Christopher Rcrkcity@pitt.eduCRKCITY
Committee MemberVolz, Conrad Danielcdv5@pitt.eduCDV5
Committee MemberButler, Jamesjbutler9@pitt.eduJBUTLER9
Date: 29 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 6 April 2010
Approval Date: 29 June 2010
Submission Date: 12 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: acid mine drainage; chemical; coal; community; ecology; environment; equity; expert opinion; exposure; human health; hydraulic fracturing; interview; justice; key informant; lead; Marcellus shale; mental health; natural gas; pollution; public health; sustainable; threat
Other ID:, etd-04122010-124347
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:36
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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