Water Safety


PFAS Risk Communications Hub

Risk communication is a critical step in addressing contaminants of emerging concern, especially for high-profile compounds like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). There are differences in the messaging and methods by which environmental agencies and health departments share information with various audiences. Given the breadth of regulatory efforts, sampling strategies, and general involvement with PFAS, it is important to communicate best practices to help states effectively and efficiently address contamination.

In 2018, ASTHO and the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) began a collaboration to develop this hub of PFAS risk communication resources. ASTHO and ECOS interviewed 6 states regarding their PFAS risk communication strategies, compiled case studies based on the lessons learned, and hosted a webinar to showcase these state case studies. In 2019, ASTHO developed a policy brief on state and federal PFAS regulations, along with hosting two webinars in 2019 and 2020 on states’ experiences with ATSDR’s PFAS Exposure Assessment Technical Tools. Also in 2019, ASTHO hosted a webinar to inform state and territorial health officials about various ongoing federal initiatives to address environmental PFAS contamination and associated human exposures. In 2020, ASTHO and ECOS published a series of FAQs to help state environmental and health agency staff communicate with the public, clinicians, legislators, and media about PFAS.

We hope the materials on this site will help state environmental and health managers more easily collaborate and disseminate audience-appropriate information on chemicals of emerging concern.

Communicating with Different Audiences About PFAS

ASTHO Resources



  • Approaches to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (2021): In June and July 2021, ASTHO and the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) collaborated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (AAAS EPI Center) for a discussion series on PFAS. The 10 panelists, which included state regulators, scientists, and community advocates, addressed PFAS in drinking water and underserved communities, risk communication, and toxicology, among other topics. This document includes key takeaways and summaries of these sessions.
  •  ASTHOBrief: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: Contaminants of Emerging Concern (2019): This PFAS-focused brief highlights states’ emerging public health concerns and recent federal actions to protect communities.

PFAS Risk Communication Case Studies



Relevant Resources

State PFAS pages