Communicating about biomonitoring and the results of a community-based project: a case study on one state's experience

J Environ Health. 2014 Dec;77(5):20-6.


Communicating biomonitoring results is a challenge. This article describes the communication strategies used by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to support a biomonitoring project in communities exposed to perfluorochemicals through contamination of their drinking water. Using archival documents, media reports, and informant interviews, the case study described here elucidates MDH's successes, challenges, and lessons learned with communicating biomonitoring results characterized by uncertainty about health effects and risk levels. MDH's communication approach focused on engaging audiences and repeating key messages. Despite the repeated message that the biomonitoring project was an exposure study and not a health study, lay audiences generally expressed lingering discontent with the results while others expressed satisfaction and understanding. This outcome highlights the importance of implementing carefully developed communication plans with well-defined goals, objectives, and intended audiences, and with evaluation guiding the entire process.

MeSH terms

  • Community-Based Participatory Research*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Fluorocarbons / analysis*
  • Health Communication*
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Minnesota
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Fluorocarbons