Most research on PFAS harms is unpublicized

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Although per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) make headlines each day, a brand new paper reveals that almost all research discovering hyperlinks between PFAS publicity and human well being harms are revealed with out a press launch and obtain little or no media protection. The evaluation, revealed as we speak within the journal Environmental Well being, discovered that research with none press consideration obtain fewer scholarly citations as properly.

“It is a disgrace that solely a small slice of this science is reaching the general public,” mentioned lead creator Rebecca Fuoco, the director of science communications on the Inexperienced Science Coverage Institute. “New research discovering robust associations between perpetually chemical compounds and severe harms like preterm delivery and most cancers are flying below the radar. Analysis tucked away in scientific journals has restricted attain, and subsequently, influence.”

The authors analyzed 273 peer-reviewed epidemiological research on PFAS human well being impacts with publication years 2018-2020, as collected by the PFAS-Tox Database. Of papers reporting a statistically vital affiliation with well being hurt, these with a press launch obtained 20 occasions extra media consideration (as assessed by Altmetric scores) than those who didn’t. Nevertheless, lower than 8% of the papers with statistically vital findings issued a press launch.

Papers with out press releases included research reporting vital hyperlinks between PFAS publicity and dangers of preterm delivery, ovarian and breast cancers, osteoporosis, and gestational diabetes. These research obtained no or little or no information protection and social media posts.

Although the evaluation centered on PFAS analysis, the authors count on that the outcomes mirror the bigger physique of environmental well being analysis in addition to different fields of science.

One motive analysis groups might forego issuing a press launch is an actual or perceived lack of profession incentive to pursue non-scholarly communications. Nevertheless, on this evaluation the imply age-adjusted quotation rely for papers with press releases was two-thirds larger than these with out. There was additionally a constructive correlation between citations and Altmetric scores.

One other barrier is a worry amongst scientists that press protection of their analysis could also be inaccurate or over-hyped. Nevertheless, earlier analysis has discovered that overstatements can usually be traced again to college press releases. This means that the answer is for scientists to take a extra energetic position in press launch drafting and guarantee their accuracy fairly than not challenge one in any respect. Different limitations embrace lack of time, assets, or media savvy in addition to differing philosophical views concerning the position of scientists in society.

“I urge scientists and their establishments to embrace media outreach as a crucial a part of the analysis course of,” mentioned co-author Linda Birnbaum, scientist emeritus on the Nationwide Institute of Environmental Well being Sciences and scholar in residence at Duke College. “As scientists we maintain the important thing to data that may inform higher insurance policies, medical practices, trade innovation, and extra. It is our accountability to unlock that potential by sharing our analysis with a large viewers.”

“Most scientific research in our nation are funded by the general public who need to know the outcomes of the analysis they’re paying for,” mentioned Arlene Blum, government director of the Inexperienced Science Coverage Institute and a co-author of the examine. “With a press launch and simple plan, scientists can improve their media protection, attain, and the influence of their work.”

The authors embrace suggestions for scientists who want to get extra media consideration to their analysis and level to a webpage with movies, templates, and extra assets.

Extra data:
Efficient communications methods to extend the influence of environmental well being analysis, Environmental Well being (2023). DOI: 10.1186/s12940-023-00997-6

Supplied by
Inexperienced Science Coverage Institute

Evaluation: Most analysis on PFAS harms is unpublicized (2023, July 17)
retrieved 17 July 2023

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