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English Abstract Public Perceptions of the Risk of Asian Dust Storms in Seoul and its Metropolitan Area.
Hyoung June Im, Ho Jang Kwon, Mina Ha, Sang Gyu Lee, Seung Sik Hwang, Eun Hee Ha, Soo Hun Cho
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2006;39(3):205-212
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1Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital Department of Occupational Medicine, Korea.
2Department of Preventive Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Korea.
3National Cancer Center, Korea.
4Department of Preventive Medicine, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Korea.
5Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine and Institute of Environmental Medicine, SNUMRC, Korea.

In spite of the recent increased concern for Asian dust storms, there are few studies concerning how dangerous the general public recognizes these dust storms to be. This study examined the public's perceptions of the risk of the Asian dust storms and also the source of the information concerning the risk. METHODS: A telephone interview survey using a standardized questionnaire was done for the adults living in Seoul and its metropolitan area from May 15th, 2003 to May 16th, 2003. The contents of the questionnaire were the sociodemographic characteristics, the perceptions of risk to the Asian dust storms, and the coping strategy of the study participants. RESULTS: The study participants get their information on Asian dust storms mainly from TV newscasts and they have a good knowledge of them. They regard it as one of the most dangerous health risks, along with dioxin. They think that it is associated with allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and bronchial asthma, etc. Of the 500 study participants, 201(40.2%) persons suffered bodily discomforts during the Asian dust storm period. CONCLUSIONS: Although there are uncertainties about the health risks of Asian dust storms, the public thinks these dust storms are very dangerous to health in many ways. This negative perception will not disappear easily. To fill the gap of the public's perceptions of the risk and the objective evidence of its health effects, more studies about its health effects and the methods to reduce exposure are required.

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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health