EHN reporter wins Carnegie Science Award

Pittsburgh reporter Kristina Marusic will receive the award for her reporting collaboration with Oliver Morrison of Public Source on Pennsylvania's PFAS pollution

PITTSBURGH—Environmental Health News reporter Kristina Marusic will receive the 2020 "Science Communicator Award" from the Carnegie Science Center.


She will share the honor with PublicSource's Oliver Morrison for the pair's ongoing collaborative reporting series on PFAS ( per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination in Western Pennsylvania.

PFAS are a class of more than 4,000 chemicals that are used to make stain- and water-resistant clothing, nonstick pots and pans, firefighting foam, carpets and furniture.

They don't break down naturally, so they build up in human bodies over time, and have been linked to health effects including cancer, thyroid disease, asthma, and ulcerative colitis. Hazardous levels of PFAS contamination have been found in soil, groundwater, and drinking water throughout the U.S., including in Western Pennsylvania.

"Kristina Marusic and Oliver Morrison's rigorous reporting has led the way as the first and most sustained source of information about [PFAS] in Pittsburgh's environment," said the awards committee. "Marusic and Morrison's accessible, multi-channel reporting approach has shared critical information that citizens need to hold leaders accountable for conducting studies to understand the true impact of PFAS chemicals and remediation needs."

Carnegie Science Center Credit: Tony Webster/flickr

Established in 1997, the Carnegie Science Awards have honored more than 600 individuals and organizations whose contributions in the fields of science, technology, and education "significantly benefit Western Pennsylvania and inspire the next generation."

"One of my primary goals as a journalist covering environmental health is to accurately translate complex scientific studies into language that regular people can understand and use to take action," Marusic said, "so it's very rewarding to be recognized as a 'science communicator.' I'm also a lifelong fan of the Science Center—I'm very honored to receive this award."

The 24th annual awards will be presented at a celebration at the Carnegie Science Center on May 8th, 2020.

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