Background: Communicating air pollution to the public is essential in reducing exposure to air pollutants through increasing awareness and promoting precautionary actions. However, one way to approach the public is through healthcare professionals who are considered public health leaders and could influence the public’s opinion. The current study aimed to investigate the perception of health experts about communicating air pollution to the public. Methods: Personal interviews of 32 health professionals were conducted to report their opinions about communication of air pollution through an open-ended questionnaire. Interview questions were focused on 5 themes: common air pollutants and health risks, goals and barriers of communication, types of information to disseminate, target groups, and vehicles of communication. Results: Interviewees agreed that air pollution should be communicated to the public. Major barriers to achieving effective communication were people’s poor comprehension and lack of interest of policymakers. The levels of pollution, associated health risks, and ways to protect one’s self were the most frequently reported types of information to distribute. Most interviewees focused on patients with pre-existing conditions and children as the main target groups. Further, social media and text messages were preferred as vehicles of communication. Conclusion: Although not all interviewees had a clear idea of how to develop and implement a communication system, most of them agreed on its importance in protecting the public. More emphasis on this topic and further investigations are expected to increase the interest of health care professionals in communicating the risks of air pollution and advocating for public health policies regarding air pollution.
- Air pollution
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis