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E-M:/ Year 2000 Environmental Survey Results for Capitol Area Available on Web
Enviro-Mich message from joonmck <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In a $45,000 random-digit dial Health Survey conducted by the Institute
for Public Policy and Survey Research (IPPSR) at Michigan State
University (for the Ingham County Health Department) last Fall, the
number one identified environmental health problem was: Outdoor Air
(36%). This was followed by "don't know" (14%), community (12%), beauty
(7%) (among about 10 other open-ended responses).
For the first time ever, the Health Department inserted 23 environmental
questions into their Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS) which they
conduct every 3-4 years. There were questions on topics such as drinking
water quality, indoor air (at work and at home), "land conversions" (a
proxy for "development" or "sprawl") The survey has 93 questions
altogether, on areas like blood pressure status, poverty, access to
care, dental health and so on.
AND NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER FOR A BRFS SURVEY IN MICHIGAN, YOU CAN
QUERY THE SURVEY YOURSELF!
Note that the findings are weighted. Moreover, you can do CROSS-TABS!
Meaning that you can instantly construct up to 8,556 tables by
juxtaposing one question with another. So that you might want to know
how the Question, "What's the quality of air in your neighborhood" is
broken down by a variable such as "Do you live in an urban, suburban, or
For that specific question we find that about 32% of rural and suburban
dwellers found their air to be excellent compared to only 17% of urban
This data could be put to very good use in many ways: 1) grant
applications; 2) neighborhood outreach; 3) public policy making, and so
Surveyors conducted 20 minute interviews with about 1,200 citizens in
Ingham, Clinton and Eaton Counties. Please recognize that this survey
only captures elicited knowledge and perceptions. Like all surveys, it
is limited by the design of the instrument: its purpose, power and depth
of inquiry (i.e. the construction of the questions), as well as whether
or not it makes available respondent's open-ended speech. For example,
the County survey does not make available individual responses, while
the 1998 Michigan PEER (Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility) survey does:
But that's only nitpicking. Since given the chance, we'd all develop our
own specific approach/questions.
I want to stress the importance of this Capital Area Environmental
It's an attempt to make a political advance over the biomedical
establishment's dominance over defining "what counts" when it comes to
human health. IT IS ONE OF THE FIRST EXAMPLES IN THE COUNTRY OF A
GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY ALTERING A BRFS SURVEY TO REFLECT ENVIRONMENTAL
I encourage all of you reading this to contact Mr. Haveman at the MI
Dept. of Community Health and ask him to consider adding environmental
questions to the next State of Michigan survey! We might also request
that representatives from the Michigan Environmental Council be invited
to design the instrument!
By the way, the state of Michigan's BRFS only solicits 3,300 citizens
across the entire state. According to Mr. McGee (the survey person with
the MDCH), MI has one of the lowest number of targeted respondents of
any state in the Union!.
We need to get better and more accurate health data on Michigan's
citizens! And we need to strongly encourage the state to underwrite
other kinds of social science research, like local case studies/or
OK, back to a few more interesting survey results before I depart:
How many people primarily drink bottled water in the Capitol Area
(Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties)?
18% (compared with 74% who drink primarily tap water)
For those who drink bottled water, why do they do so?
Taste (45%); Health (19%); Convenience (15%)
GO SEE IT FOR YOURSELF AND TELL US ALL WHAT YOU THINK (PRO & CON)
"If there are connections everywhere, why do we persist in turning
dynamic, interconnected phenomena into static, disconnected things?"
-- Eric R. Wolf, Anthropologist (1923-1999)
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