156358 Nuisance, public health and industrial hog operations: An ethnographic study

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 3:30 PM

Mansoureh Tajik, PhD , School of Health and Environment, Department of Community Health and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Lowell, MA
Naeema Muhammad , Concerned Citizens of Tillery, Rocky Mount, NC
Steve Wing, PhD , School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Kendall Thu, PhD , Anthropology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Gary Grant , Concerned Citizens of Tillery, Tillery, NC
Neighbors of industrial hog operations report that malodor, insects, and water contamination from these facilities diminish their health-related quality of life. We evaluated whether the neighbors' descriptions fit the definition of a public nuisance any activity that unreasonably limits, diminishes, or interferes with another person's health, safety, quiet enjoyment of life, or beneficial use of property. We conducted 75 semi-structured interviews with participants in 18 communities in eastern North Carolina. Respondents were asked to describe, in their own words, how hog operations affect their lives. Interviews were 1-2 hours in length. All participants reported severe restrictions imposed by hog odor. Activities that they considered important in their quiet enjoyment of life and/or beneficial use of their property included: gardening, barbequing, hosting functions for family and friends, church activities, opening windows and doors, fresh air (both inside and outside), playing outside, and hanging clothes on the clothesline, sitting on porches, walking to the mail box without stepping in hog waste from the spray field across the street, access to clean water from private wells, and having to wear masks to cut the grass. Responses were internally consistent and similar in different communities. Results suggest that hog operations can constitute a public nuisance, and that their impacts on neighbors' lives have important implications for public health.

Learning Objectives:
1. To define a public nuisance and describe how industrial hog operations could constitute a public nuisance to the neighbors of the industry 2. To describe how ethnographic research is used to explore the impact of an environmental nuisance on public health and quality of life. 3. To become familiar with a case example in environmental justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.