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Abstract

Cleaning up contaminated sites is one of the most important environmental policy priorities in many countries. Remediation of contaminated sites is attractive because it reduces risks to human health and ecological systems, and brings a host of potential social and economic benefits. Even when the burden of paying for cleanup is imposed on the parties that are responsible for the contaminated sites, in many countries government programs are established for enforcement purposes, to set cleanup standards, and to address contamination at those sites where the responsible parties are no longer in existence or do not have the means to pay for cleanup (orphan sites). This paper presents the results of a survey of the Italian public where we ask citizens to report their opinions about possible goals for such government programs and for cleanup. Our survey respondents are generally in favor of broad-based programs that protect the health of a diverse population - without restricting attention to cleanup beneficiaries in specific age groups or to specific exposure pathways. They also in favor of permanent remedies, even if they cost more, and of cleaning up sites even when the health risk reduction are experienced in the future, as is usually the case with carcinogenic contaminants.

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