Environmental health issues in rural communities

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6 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to examine the beliefs of rural health care providers concerning the environmental health issues challenging their communities. A national survey of rural health care providers (RHCPs) was undertaken to identify their perceptions of the environmental health issues facing their constituents. Follow-up telephone interviews obtained additional information about environmental health problems in selected rural communities. In valid surveys received from 384 RHCPs, groundwater pollution and surface-water pollution ranked as the top two concerns, followed by pesticide misuse and soil erosion. Groundwater and surface water are traditionally concerns of rural communities, as those communities are almost exclusively served by well water. Pesticides and soil erosion are logical second-tier rankings. Agriculture, the primary activity in rural areas, involves the heavy use of pesticides. Soil erosion, particularly in difficult planting and growing years, also can adversely affect environmental quality through water pollution as well as air pollution via wind-borne particles. More than half of the respondents reported that environmental problems are or have been a cause of health problems in their communities. Those respondents also were likely to attach greater importance to each environmental problem listed. The respondents who were personally interviewed by telephone indicated that water pollution is the most important environmental issue in their rural communities. Odors, visible air pollution, nonvisible air pollution, and noise pollution were ranked less important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-19
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Environmental Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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