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Refresher course 2B

Risk and Health communication about NORM: from theory to practice

Tanja Perko (SCK-CEN, Belgium)(Organised in cooperation with the EC SHARE Platform)

Learning objectives of the refresher course:

  • How to develop evidence based communication intervention;
  • Which theories, behavioural change and health protection models are applicable to communication about NORM exposure situations;
  • How to design, test, apply and evaluate strategic risk communication.

Citizens and other stakeholders need to make informed decisions in different exposure situations, for instance whether to test for radon and remediate a dwelling if advised; how to adapt life style at a NORM legacy site; whether to use recycled building material containing NORM; to undertake or not a treatment in a radon spa; to be concerned or reassured related to radiological risks due to a geothermal installation in a vicinity; to take part or not in citizen science project; how much to trust in authorities to protect them from risks of NORM and radon; how to protect from radon exposure at work or which level of environmental remediation accept and which not.

Communication and stakeholder engagement are crucial elements in these conscious and unconscious personal choices for health related actions. In order to support citizens and other stakeholders in those choices,  risk and health communication about NORM and radon needs to be: “evidence-based (e.g., based on the qualitative and quantitative empirical data, surveys, experiments); theory-based (e.g., drawing from empirically-supported theories of health behaviour, information processing, risk perception and risk communication); and strategic (e.g., based on formats and methods that have been proven to reach its preconceived objectives)” (Bouder et al., 2019).

This refresher course will provide you with insights on critical elements in theory, evidence and strategy driven risk and health communication interventions in the field of NORM and radon. We will scrutinize practical examples in communication interventions, how exchange or sharing of risk related data, information and knowledge between and among different parties is provided and how to address behavioral change elements in your communication about NORM and radon in nowadays, on-line society.

Attendance of this course is advised for young researchers, experts, communication practitioners in the field of NORM and authorities that are implementing BSS Directive in their national contexts and need to address people’s awareness, attitudes and behaviour from Radon and NORM exposure situations.

List of recommended (pre)reading literature:

  1. Bouder, F., Perko, T., Lofstedt, R., Renn, O., Rossmann, C., Hevey, D., . . . Reifenhäuser, C. (2019). The Potsdam Radon Communication Manifesto. Journal of Risk Research. doi:10.1080/13669877.2019.1691858
  2. Hevey, D. (2017). Radon Risk and Remediation: A Psychological Perspective. Frontiers in public health, 5, 63. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2017.00063
  1. Martell, M., Perko, T., Tomkiv, Y., Long, S., Dowdall, A., & Kenens, J. (2021). Evaluation of citizen science contributions to radon research. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 237, 106685. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2021.106685
  1. Perko, T., & Turcanu, C. (2020). Is internet a missed opportunity? Evaluating radon websites from a stakeholder engagement perspective. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 212; doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2019.106123
  1. Perko, T., Monken-Fernandes, H., Martell, M., Zeleznik, N., & O’Sullivan, P. (2017). Societal Constraints Related to Environmental Remediation and Decommissioning Programmes. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, published on line doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.06.014. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.06.014
  1. Poortinga, W., Bronstering, K., & Lannon, S. (2011). Awareness and perceptions of the risks of exposure to indoor radon: a population-based approach to evaluate a radon awareness and testing campaign in England and Wales. Risk Anal, 31(11), 1800-1812. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21477087
  1. Tomkiv, Y., Muric, M., Perko, T., Zeleznik, N., Dumitrescu, A., Hevey, D., . . . Meskens, G. (2021). Collection of existing methods, databases, scales, protocols and other tools – state of the art. Final version as of 12.03.2021 of deliverable D6.1 of RadoNorm. . Retrieved from Brussels, Belgium: https://www.radonorm.eu/wp-content/uploads/file_exchange/D6.1_Methodological-state-of-the-art_approved26052021-1.pdf
  1. Turcanu, C., Schieber, C., Schneider, T., Fallon, C., Geysmans, R., Perko, T., & Pölzl-Viol (2020). Stakeholder engagement in the management of indoor radon exposures. Radioprotection, https://doi.org/10.1051/radiopro/2020038, 1-7.