Bridging the Information Gap Between Science and Society: A Solution to Nonpoint Source Contamination?

Samuel A. Nutile, Adam M. Simpson, Megan E. Solan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dissemination of information associated with scientific achievement serves to advance research and guide future experimentation. In the sphere of environmental science, such advancements aim to better characterize harmful chemicals and the factors that influence in situ toxicity, which is central to the protection of the environments upon which humans depend. While some information regarding the dangers associated with common anthropogenic contaminants reaches wider audiences, the nuance of this information is often lost, potentially leading to ineffective solutions, specifically as it relates to nonpoint source contamination. Bridging the divide between scientific research, regulatory implementation, and product innovation is imperative in order to find meaningful and lasting environmental solutions. Road de-icing salts are applied to impervious surfaces to protect human health and maintain the efficient transportation of goods by roadways during winter months. The toxicity of these salts in freshwater ecosystems is well understood and researched within the scientific community. Tentative regulations and solutions developed to mitigate the environmental damage caused by road de-icing salts, however, perfectly represent the disconnect between the scientific community and the general public. Here, we use road de-icing salt as an example of how such a disconnect can manifest in the form of ineffective solutions and regulatory standards, and we present a general framework by which environmental scientists can more effectively bridge the gap between the scientific community and society at large. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2020;16:415–420.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-420
Number of pages6
JournalIntegrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Environmental Science


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