SciComm Lunch & Learn – Water, Water Everywhere, with Dr. Kathleen Gray and Dr. Lee Ferguson
Testing North Carolina’s Drinking Water and Communicating Risk: What is really in the water we drink, how do we know, and how do we communicate potential risks to the public in ways that inform without eliciting undue concern (or, worse yet, panic)? The presence of chemicals like GenX (a member of a class of chemicals known as PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in NC’s water supply prompted the state of North Carolina to establish the PFAS Testing Network in 2018. In the first SciComm Lunch-and-Learn of 2020, Dr. Kathleen Gray (UNC Institute for the Environment), who is one of the leads of the NC PFAS Testing Network’s Risk Communication Team, will discuss general strategies for communicating risk in science. She and Duke’s Dr. Lee Ferguson (one of the Network’s lead scientists) will then talk specifically about the PFAS testing that was done over the last year, what was found, and some of the science/risk communication challenges this presented. This is sure to be an informative and eye-opening session, so don’t miss it.
Dr. Gray works to enhance public understanding of current environmental science and health research and its relevance to daily life, and empower North Carolinians to make informed decisions that protect the environment and public health. She earned a Ph.D. in science education from NC State University, an M.S.P.H. in environmental sciences and engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill and a B.S. in mathematics from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Ferguson is an Environmental Analytical Chemist whose research is focused on the development of novel methods for trace analysis of organic and nanoparticulate contaminants in the aquatic environment. He earned a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.