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Uncertainty, reassurance and pollution: The politics of epidemiology in Teesside

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Peter Phillimore


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This article focuses upon longstanding controversy surrounding the health impact of air pollution from steel and chemical industries in the conurbation of Teesside, in Northeast England. Drawing on Ulrich Beck's analysis of risk, it presents a commentary on the ways in which epidemiological findings are incorporated or marginalised in conflicting public health narratives in Teesside, taking recent epidemiological research on mortality patterns for detailed scrutiny. I argue that where public health issues are contentious and politicised, inconclusiveness in such research plays a significant part in sustaining a 'narrative of reassurance' about the possible health or environmental costs of living close to industrial operations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Phillimore P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health and Place

Year: 1998

Volume: 4

Issue: 3

Pages: 203-212

Print publication date: 01/09/1998

ISSN (print): 1353-8292

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2054


DOI: 10.1016/S1353-8292(98)00015-X

PubMed id: 10670971


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