PFAS in Locally Caught Fish: Threats to Health & Environmental Justice

January 31, 2024 @ 9:00am (AKST)

Check out the Webinar Highlights fact sheet for key findings and quotes from this webinar.


Efforts to address PFAS contamination have been primarily directed at exposure from drinking water. However, a recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found substantially higher PFAS levels in locally caught freshwater fish across the United States.

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of chemicals commonly known as “forever chemicals,” can be found in soil, water, fish, and our bodies. This study found that consuming just one serving of fish can be equivalent to drinking water contaminated with high levels of PFAS (48 parts per trillion) for a month.

PFAS are associated with human health harms, including cancer, heart disease, birth defects, liver disease, and decreased immunity. Rural and Indigenous communities, relying on freshwater fish as part of their traditional diet and culture, may be at higher risk from these serious health threats.

Unlike many other states with PFAS-related fish consumption advisories, Alaska lacks regulations and health guidelines for PFAS contamination. Several lakes in Alaska have fish consumption warnings due to PFAS contamination from firefighting foam. PFAS exposure is a significant issue in Alaska also due to atmospheric transport and ocean currents carrying pollutants from all over the planet to the Arctic.


On Wednesday, January 31 at 9:00 AM (AKST), CHE-Alaska will host EWG’s Tasha Stoiber and ACAT’s Samarys Seguinot Medina to discuss PFAS contamination in freshwater fish, and how it represents an environmental justice issue for communities that depend on locally caught fish for sustenance and traditional cultural practices.

Dr. Stoiber, a Senior Scientist at EWG, will present on the recent study she co-authored on PFAS contamination in freshwater fish across the country. ACAT Environmental Health Director Samarys Seguinot Medina will discuss PFAS contamination and related legislation specific to Alaska.


CHE-Alaska is part of CHE’s broader network, which is an international partnership of almost 5,000 individuals and organizations in 87 countries and all 50 US states that are committed to addressing environmental impacts on human health across the lifespan.

We encourage you to become a CHE partner so you can receive their monthly email newsletters, announcements about upcoming webinars, and other updates on a range of environmental health topics. Visit to learn more.

Featured speakers

Dr. Tasha Stoiber is a Senior Scientist for the Environmental Working Group and works to better understand the connections between exposure to chemicals and public health. As a member of EWG’s science investigation’s team, she researches contaminants in drinking water, indoor air pollution and chemicals in consumer products and food. She holds dual bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences and environmental engineering from Michigan Technological University. She attended graduate school at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry & technology. She joined EWG’s San Francisco office in 2014.


Dr. Samarys Seguinot Medina (Sama, or by her given Yupik name, Umyuugalek) has been ACAT’s Environmental Health Director for the last 14 years. Most of her work has been leading community-based participatory research in remote areas of Alaska and other EJ&H efforts in Puerto Rico, the U.S., and Geneva, Switzerland as part of ACAT’s international work. She has a DrPH (Doctor in Public Health) from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus in San Juan, and a master’s degree in Environmental Risk Assessment and Planning from Universidad Metropolitana (Metropolitan University) in SJ, Puerto Rico.

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