The Urgent Need to Address PFAS to Protect Drinking Water and Public Health

January 25, 2023
5:00 pm US Eastern Time

Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service via Flickr


You can view the video recording of this webinar here. 

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are toxic chemicals widely used in consumer products, industrial firefighting foams used on military bases and airports, and can be found in drinking water throughout Alaska and the US. In Alaska, the use of PFAS-based firefighting foams has contaminated the drinking water of communities from the North Slope to southeast Alaska.

CHE-Alaska presented The Urgent Need to Address Toxic PFAS Chemicals to Protect Drinking Water and Public Health. This webinar discussed the dangers of PFAS in firefighting foams, consumer products, and water. We discussed precedents in other states taking the lead in drafting bills to tackle PFAS, including how bipartisan support advances these critical policies. 

Featured Speakers

Sarah Woodbury is the director of advocacy at Defend Our Health, an environmental justice nonprofit organization working to create a world where all people are thriving, with equal access to safe food and drinking water, and toxic-free products. Sarah spearheads the organization’s advocacy and coalition work. Defend Our Health played a critical role in compelling the 2021 Maine Legislature to pass a law to eliminate the use of toxic PFAS in consumer products.

Gretchen Salter is a strategic advisor for Safer States, an alliance of diverse environmental health organizations and coalitions from across the nation committed to safeguarding people and the planet from toxic chemicals. She offers political and technical assistance to state advocates and legislators on a variety of environmental issues. She serves as a lead on civic engagement work and created a national PFAS campaign coalition bringing together scientists, activists and advocates to eliminate the use of PFAS. 

Alaska Senator Jesse Kiehl (D) was elected in 2019 and serves for District B representing Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Gustavus, and Klukwan. In the 2022 legislative session, Sen. Kiehl sponsored SB 121, which would have established enforceable drinking water standards for PFAS and other measures to protect Alaska’s water and communities.  Although the bill did not pass in 2022, Senator Kiehl is drafting a new version of the bill for this year’s legislative session.


This call was hosted by the CHE-Alaska Partnership, which is coordinated by Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT).