Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2013, Article ID 469714, 8 pages
Research Article

Risk Perception and Its Foundation among Swedish Individuals Occupationally Exposed to Air Pollutants and Chemicals: A Comparison of 1975 and 2011

Division of Philosophy, Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 78B, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Received 13 May 2013; Accepted 10 July 2013

Academic Editors: M. F. Allam, S. M. Pezzotto, P. Plans, I. Szadkowska-Stanczyk, and G. Tolomiczenko

Copyright © 2013 Linda Schenk. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although work environment conditions have improved much in the last decades, occupational exposures to chemicals and air pollutants still cause adverse health effects. The risk perception of occupational exposures to hazardous substances and the motivations for it have been investigated through a questionnaire study. These results have also been compared to previous studies performed by the largest trade union confederation in Sweden in 1975. In the current survey, 30% of the respondents believe to be at risk, 48% not, and 22% state to be unsure. The proportion of persons experiencing to be at risk due to exposures to chemicals or air pollution at work is unexpectedly similar to that of 1975. The explanations offered for the risk perception were in many cases vague and of a subjective nature, but again results are similar to those of 1975. References to more solid justifications such as performed exposure measurements or medical health checks are scarce, with the latter case being as scarce today as in 1975. There are only a few indications that a more systematic management of work environment issues has developed at Swedish workplaces; for instance, managers were more commonly stated as a source of information in 2011 than in 1975.