Responsibility for chemical exposures: perspectives from small beauty salons and auto shops in southern metropolitan Tucson
AuthorLee, Amanda A.
AffiliationMel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona
School of Anthropology, University of Arizona
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherBioMed Central Ltd
CitationLee, A. A., Ingram, M., Quijada, C., Yubeta, A., Cortez, I., Lothrop, N., & Beamer, P. (2021). Responsibility for chemical exposures: perspectives from small beauty salons and auto shops in southern metropolitan Tucson. BMC public health, 21(1), 1-12.
JournalBMC Public Health
Rights© The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractBackground: Throughout the United States, low-wage, minority workers are disproportionately affected by occupational illnesses and injuries. Chronic exposure to hazardous chemicals at work can lead to serious illnesses, contributing to health inequities. In this article, we expand on theories of ‘responsibilization’ in an occupational health context to reveal how responsibilities for workplace chemical exposures are negotiated by workers and owners in Latinx-owned small businesses. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with a total of 22 workers and owners in auto repair shops and beauty salons – two high-risk industries – in Southern Metropolitan Tucson. Participants were asked about their insights into workplace chemical exposures and health. A qualitative analysis team with representation from all study partner organizations collectively coded and reviewed the interview data in QSR International’s NVivo 11 and identified overarching themes across the interviews. Results: We identified three primary themes: 1) ambivalence toward risks in the workplace; 2) shifting responsibilities for exposure protection at work; and 3) reflections on the system behind chemical exposure risks. Participants discussed the complexities that small businesses face in reducing chemical exposures. Conclusions: Through our analysis of the interviews, we examine how neoliberal occupational and environmental policies funnel responsibility for controlling chemical exposures down to individuals in small businesses with limited resources, obscuring the power structures that maintain environmental health injustices. We conclude with a call for upstream policy changes that more effectively regulate and hold accountable the manufacturers of chemical products used daily by small business workers. © 2021, The Author(s).
NoteOpen access journal
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNational Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.