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Are Mercury Advisories Effective? Inofrmation, Education, and Fish Consumption

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Abstract

Mercury exposure has emerged as one of the most prominent environmental health and food safety concerns. The primary danger is the consumption of contaminated fish by young children, nursing mothers, and pregnant women. To mitigate the risks, in January 2001 the FDA issued a national advisory urging at-risk consumers to limit fish consumption. Did the FDA advisory reduce mercury exposure to at-risk groups? We find that consumers most likely to be aware of and understand the advisory did significantly reduce fish consumption relative to a control group. Both education and newspaper readership are important determinants of consumption response among at-risk groups, suggesting that information acquisition and assimilation are key factors for risk avoidance. Some newspapers readers not specifically targeted by the advisory also responded. Disturbingly, we do not find a response to the mercury advisory among the relatively large group of at-risk households which met neither the education nor readership criteria.

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  • Jay Shimshack, 2004. "Are Mercury Advisories Effective? Inofrmation, Education, and Fish Consumption," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0423, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  • Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0423
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    Cited by:

    1. Ioannides, Yannis M. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2007. "Social networking and individual outcomes beyond the mean field case," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(3-4), pages 369-390.
    2. Darlene Chisholm & Margaret McMillan & George Norman, 2010. "Product differentiation and film-programming choice: do first-run movie theatres show the same films?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, pages 131-145.
    3. Gilbert Metcalf & Jongsang Park, 2007. "A comment on the role of prices for excludable public goods," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(6), pages 685-698, December.
    4. Willson, Tina M. & Kazmierczak, Richard F., Jr., 2007. "The Public Health and Economic Impacts of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) Contaminants on U.S. Fisheries," 2007 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2007, Mobile, Alabama 34963, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    5. Darlene C. Chisholm & George Norman, 2006. "When to Exit a Product: Evidence from the U. S. Motion-Picture Exhibition Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 57-61.
    6. Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Yannis M. Ioannides, 2005. "Social Networks in Labor Markets," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0517, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    7. Darlene C. Chisholm & George Norman, 2006. "When to Exit a Product: Evidence from the U. S. Motion-Picture Exhibition Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 57-61.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumer Economics; Empirical; Analysis; Government; Policy; Regulation; Public; Health; Water; Pollution;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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