Different frames, different fears: communicating about chlorinated drinking water and cancer in the Canadian media
AbstractRisk issues become complicated when scientific evidence concerning a potential environmental exposure is equivocal; particularly when many argue that the public health benefits of a policy action outweigh any potential negative health effects. Chlorinated drinking water, and chlorinated disinfection byproducts (CDBPs) that are formed during the disinfection process, represent a useful case-study for examining these complications. We conduct a media analysis of chlorinated drinking water stories in the Canadian print media from 1977 to 2000. We examine media presentations of science compared to framings by scientists, regulators, the chlorine industry, water utility representatives, and non-governmental organizations of the CDBP issue based on key informant interviews. We argue that there are two main framings of the debate, each of which are powerful in constructing risk perceptions. On the one hand, many frame the debate as a 'voluntary' risk: we choose chlorine disinfection to protect against microbial risks with a possible adverse consequence of that protection. On the other hand, others frame the issue as an 'involuntary' risk: chlorine disinfection was a 'choice' imposed by public health and water utility officials; a choice that carries a potential cancer risk, and alternative disinfection technologies are advocated. We demonstrate these different frames by examining metaphorical constructs of water, chlorine and cancer contained within them.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.
Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 6 (March)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.