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Syngenta Scientist Speaks On Effective Science Communication At Agribusiness Conference

GREENSBORO, N.C., Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As a keynote speaker at the Far West Agribusiness Association Washington Winter Conference in Pasco, Wash., Dec. 10 through 12, Syngenta Principal Scientist Timothy Pastoor, Ph.D., DABT, addressed the importance of translating science into clear, concise messages that can be understood by industry, media and the general public.

Pastoor explained that by improving scientific communications in this way, regulators will be better equipped to make decisions about health and safety based on sound science. And the media and public will be better served if they are informed by scientific facts, not uninformed speculation.

"Clarity is crucial if the general public is going to grasp the breadth and depth of data that supports the registration of crop protection products," Pastoor said. "Considering the influx of technological advancements, combined with the increase in studies, the need for understandable information about scientific findings has never been greater."

He offered insights into the obstacles scientists face in their efforts to communicate effectively with the public, illustrating with a case study on the herbicide atrazine.

Pastoor showed three short documentaries that tell the story of how atrazine helps farmers protect precious water and soil resources, while aiding the economy. The films, collectively called Saving the Oasis, also highlight the importance of sound science in determining product safety. The films demonstrate how complex subject matter and scientific data, including nearly 7,000 studies supporting the safety of atrazine, can be used in a simple, compelling and engaging way to explain the benefits of this trusted herbicide, without being overly technical. 

Pastoor has more than 30 years of international experience in fundamental toxicity testing, mode-of-action research and human-health risk assessment. He is a board member of both the Toxicology Forum and the International Life Sciences Institute/Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (ILSI/HESI).

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