Photo depicting two multiracial young girls sitting at a table in a kitchen drinking water.

NEWS GLEAMS | DOH Tracks Harmful PFAS Content in Drinking Water; PACE Seeks Cohort Members

A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨Gleaming This Week✨

DOH Data Tracks Harmful PFAS Content in Drinking Water

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has launched a PFAS in Drinking Water Data dashboard, which includes information collected since 2021 regarding the presence of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. In recent years, PFAS have been nicknamed “forever chemicals” due to their toxicity, ability to contaminate clean water, and difficulty to remove from systems. This year, their presence has also sparked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pursue potential efforts to regulate PFAS on a national level

Harvard University’s School of Public Health reports that PFAS are “resistant to water, grease, and heat [and] are found in a range of everyday products including food packaging, clothing, cosmetics, and toilet paper.” The Washington State DOH describes PFAS as “a large family of human-made chemicals in use since the 1950s to make a wide variety of stain-resistant, water-resistant, and non-stick consumer products.”

Some studies have shown that PFAS can bioaccumulate in human bodies, thus causing negative health effects, such as “cancers, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, liver damage, asthma, allergies, and reduced vaccine response in children.” There may also be some correlation between the presence of PFAS and reproductive difficulties or birth defects.

As a result, the DOH hopes that the dashboard may be an introductory step to help Washingtonians detect the presence of PFAS in their water and take steps to mitigate harm if necessary. Those who detect PFAS in their water can install water filters to treat the affected water or use purified bottled water in the short term. On personal levels, individuals may also take steps such as frequent cleaning, dusting, and vacuuming, throwing away old Teflon pans that may have been coated with PFAS prior to the 2000s, and avoiding stain- or water-resistant fabrics.

For the recently launched dashboard, a state of board health rule has required that 2,400 water systems test for PFAS between 2011 and December 2025. Thus far, a quarter of the required testing has been completed.

This gleam is funded in part by an Environmental Justice Fund (EJ Fund) grant through the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE).

Flier advertising the application period for the People's Academy for Community Engagement.
Flier courtesy of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

People’s Academy for Community Engagement Seeks Cohort Members

The Civic Engagement team at Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) is partnering with the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to create a cohort of 10–15 community members from the Asian diaspora who would like to participate in the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE). PACE will be focused on teaching the cohort the “ins and outs of local city government and how to build community power.”

Conducted with a lens specific to the immigrant or diaspora experience, PACE will host sessions centered around introductory topics such as basic government 101 and racial equity, as well as how to navigate city budgets and the city council.

Eight sessions will take place on Monday afternoons from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST, starting June 5 and ending July 10. Cohort participants will receive a $250 stipend upon completion.

The deadline to apply is Sunday, May 21, by 11:59 p.m., and a brief application can be found online via an Office Forms.

The Seattle Public Library Hosts Sessions With Historian Mary Henry and Writer Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

The Seattle Public Library (SPL) will be hosting a number of upcoming talks of potential interest to South Seattle Emerald readers. A full list of their free public events can be found at

Mary Henry

Saturday, May 20, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Douglass-Truth Branch 

Historian Mary Henry will speak about her new book, Tributes: Black People Whose Names Grace Seattle Sites, which is an illustrated text centered on the Black artists, politicians, and businesspeople who have left a lasting legacy on Seattle. Their names are found on parks, buildings, streets, and other physical spaces around Seattle, and the biographies in this anthology explore them.

The event, which will be moderated by the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, will also include a book signing. More details can be found on SPL’s website.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Saturday, May 22, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Central Library Branch

Writer Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah will discuss his debut novel, Chain Gang All Stars, which The Washington Post describes as a dystopian vision “like Orwell’s 1984 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.” The book features two women gladiators who fight for freedom in the private prison system, drawing parallels to the current system of incarceration within the United States.

The event will feature Adjei-Brenyah in conversation with The Seattle Times columnist and journalist Naomi Ishisaka. More details can be found on SPL’s website.

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📸 Featured Image: Photo via fixkes/

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