Good news for Alaska drinking water: Senate Bill 67 to phase out PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) from firefighting foams has been passed by the Senate Resources Committee and is now headed to Senate Finance.
ACAT, community members from contaminated areas, and leaders from rural Alaska are sending concise, personalized messages to the Senate Finance Committee. We need to prevent further harm from PFAS contamination of our water: please schedule a hearing immediately and pass SB 67! Organizational letters of support from tribes, community councils, firefighter unions, and municipalities ignite substantive action to protect Alaskans from PFAS-contaminated water.
PFAS, which are a harmful class of over 12,000 chemicals, are known as “forever chemicals” because they are extremely persistent and have been found in the bodies of people and wildlife. They cause harm to health at extremely low exposure levels, including certain cancers, liver and kidney damage, and immune system suppression.
Most of the contamination from PFAS in Alaskan’s drinking water has been caused by the dispersive use of PFAS-based industrial firefighting foams used on airports and military bases.
Some suggested talking points—be sure to use your own words about why this is important to you!
- SB 67 is an important and necessary step toward protecting the drinking water and health of Alaskans.
- There are safe, effective, and economical alternatives to the use of PFAS-based firefighting foams that are in use at major airports, military installations, and oil and gas facilities around the world.
- We also need comprehensive legislation to establish health protective drinking water standards and other protections for Alaska communities.
- Please schedule a hearing and pass SB 67 during this session!
ACAT conducted independent water quality testing in 2022 that showed PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination in Anchorage lakes as well as in Ship Creek.
These results show contamination in lakes used for swimming and fishing. The results also show contamination in Ship Creek downstream from Joint Base Elmendorf and Fort Richardson (JBER), an important urban ecosystem for fish, wildlife, as well as fishing. The samples from 2021 and 2022 revealed the presence of toxic PFAS chemicals in all the water bodies that we tested in both Anchorage and the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
These data emphasize the need for urgent action to protect public health as well as wildlife. The data concerning PFAS in our local lakes are of concern to environmental and public health. The information is a public right-to-know issue.