The experience of long-term exposure to environmental contaminants, or chronic environmental contamination (CEC), is an increasingly common environmental hazard with deleterious physical and mental health outcomes. CEC is also an environmental justice issue, as communities of color and low-income communities disproportionately face such hazards. Research on environmental issues in psychology has largely focused on acute hazards such as natural disasters, and on abstract hazards such as climate change. While there has been limited research on more intermediate hazards like CEC in psychology, we assert that psychological methods and theories have much to add to interdisciplinary collaborations concerning stress, resilience, and collective action in the context of CEC. In the present paper, we first situate CEC relative to other environmental hazards that have received more attention in psychology. We then review literature on the psychological health impacts of CEC, as well as relevant disparities in negative outcomes associated with CEC. We then recommend ways for psychological researchers to engage in interdisciplinary and community-based participatory research on this topic.
- chronic environmental contamination
- environmental justice
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychology (miscellaneous)
- Applied Psychology