Different stakeholders may be interested in a health study of a community living near a contaminated area for a variety of reasons. The table below lists examples of reasons stakeholders have expressed in the past.
|knowledge||to learn more about whether a chemical can cause an health outcome, or whether it can cause the health outcome at certain levels of exposure, or in certain populationsto find out whether a perceived disease cluster is real; and if the cluster is real, what its cause may be|
|protection of the public's health||to change policy, if needed, in order to better protect other communities from future exposureto provide information that will help ensure clean-up occurs|
|to document risk and/or exposure to a community, for the sake of having this information known publicly or acknowledged, perhaps by the responsible partiesto have this information for personal satisfaction; this is the principle that the persons affected have the right-to-know about exposuresto try to show evidence of disease resulting from exposure for a lawsuit or for compensation to an individual or community|
|protection from liability or clean-up obligation||if a study does not find evidence of disease resulting from exposure, the entity that is responsible for the contaminated property may hope to use the information to defend itself in a lawsuit, or to argue against the need for clean-up.|
Suppose your community's goals are broad. You may want to look at a variety of factors that affect the health of your community. You may want to investigate a wide variety of health outcomes, not all of which may be related to the exposure. In this case, you may want to consider a community health survey instead, which looks at many different factors that affect health (for example, social and economic status), as well as different health conditions. This type of survey can help a community better understand its health status and needs. However, this type of survey cannot be used to show an association between exposure to contaminants and development of a specific disease
In addition, you may want to organize actions that can be more appropriate and useful than an epidemiological study.