I have literally just walked in the door from seeing the movie Dark Waters and was so affected by it that I had to get on here and write about it…right after feeding my cat and grabbing a beer from the fridge.
Dark Waters is a true story of one lawyers fight over a period of 20 years battling (initially against the wishes of the company that employed him) with corporate chemical giants DuPont over their poisoning of a community in West Virginia. The thing that strikes the viewer about this isn’t that DuPont accidentally poisoned a community…..but that they knowingly poisoned a community and then tried to bury the evidence for over 40 years….and carried on producing the toxic chemical responsible…and sticking the residue in landfills, which leached into the public’s drinking water.
They, DuPont, even managed to shut down an investigation by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) – a government body – such is their power and reach. The movie goes to show that money is God and that corporations, the regulatory authorities and the government themselves are corrupt to the point…actually passed the point…of criminality.
DuPont’s own scientists had already told the corporate heads that TEFLON – yes the thing that coats so many of our saucepans and frypans – is toxic to human health and causes 6 different types of cancers and several other illnesses AND birth defects. The chemical that is in Teflon is Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—also known as C8—and is a perfluorinated carboxylic acid produced and used worldwide as an industrial surfactant in chemical processes and as a material feedstock, and is a health concern and subject to regulatory action and voluntary industrial phase-outs. This is a cousin of the stuff used in Scotchguard on furniture, curtains and other fabrics to keep them clean…which is also toxic and is called…Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (conjugate base perfluorooctanesulfonate) (PFOS) is an anthropogenic fluorosurfactant and global pollutant. PFOS was the key ingredient in Scotchgard, a fabric protector made by 3M, and numerous stain repellents. It was added to Annex B of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in May 2009. PFOS can be synthesized in industrial production or result from the degradation of precursors. PFOS levels that have been detected in wildlife are considered high enough to affect health parameters, and recently higher serum levels of PFOS were found to be associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease in the general US population. This association was independent of confounders such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, and serum cholesterol level.
Yet Scotchguard on furnishings is marketed as a great thing. WTF! As are Teflon pans…again WTF! Yay for carcinogens….you go chemical companies….make oodles of money for your shareholders but kill us all in the process.….said very ironically!
Get this folks….these chemicals are ones that don’t break down…they don’t go away….they amass…accumulate in the human body and increase their toxicity as each molecule is absorbed into us. 99% of life on earth has traces of these toxins and they are particularly high in the human population – no wonder that cancer affects one in three people in the western world these days….and this is rising to one in two. All thanks to the wonders of science. That is frightening!
Anyway, getting back to the movie….Dark Waters, inspired by the true story of Robert Bilott and stars Mark Ruffalo as the attorney who took on the DuPont company in an environmental suit exposing a decades-long history of chemical pollution in drinking water. And it may have never come to light. In 1998, Robert Bilott was working as a corporate defense attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio. One day at the office, farmer Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp), an acquaintance of Robert’s grandmother, arrives with boxes of videotapes, requesting Robert’s assistance. The thing is that Roberts job is working in defence of the corporates, but after seeing what is on the video tapes made by the farmer and visiting the farm and seeing all the dead cattle, Roberts conscience…his sense of right and wrong….his ethical inner voice if you like, tells him to take what he knows about defending these pariahs and turn it against them.
He almost loses his job, his wife and family, his health, in pursuing this “lost cause”. And it really does seem like a lost cause. There are so many factors against him. The corporates have so much power that they influence regulators and government authorities ….they buy off small towns by building schools or providing employment…..but they are poisoning people…AND THEY KNOW IT.
You walk out of the movie wondering how these bastards can get to sleep at night…knowing that they are killing people, but treating things as “business as usual”.
Please see the movie to see the outcome of Bilott’s 20 years of legal persistence. DuPont of course are still to this day in existence as are several other chemical billion dollar companies who put profit over the health of the people. DuPont’s slogan, coined in 1935 was “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry.” This changed twice. The first time in 1982 when they dropped the words “Through Chemistry” because of negative feedback from sectors such as the environmental movement that saw Chemical companies as polluters. Then in 1999 it was changed completely to “The miracles of science”. Based on the belief that “science knows best”. This may be true…science may know best…..but it depends on the morals of those in charge of science as to whether it is best for us all or just best for the investors.
Please see this movie! Please boycott DuPont, 3M and their fellow chemical corporates. Why 3M you ask…since they were named on Forbes list of most ethical companies? – What a laugh that is!!!
Here is a copy of what is on line…..
Timeline of Who Knew What & When about Toxic Teflon
Scientists, 3M researchers, and government officials have known about the dangers presented by these industrial PFAS chemicals for decades. The complexity of the coverup is most evident when seen as a timeline of events.
In 1947, the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) began producing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) by electrochemical fluorination.
In the 1950s, 3M expanded worldwide with operations in Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
In 1951, DuPont started purchasing PFOA from 3M for use in the manufacturing of teflon, a product that brought DuPont a billion dollars a year profit by the 1990s. DuPont referred to PFOA as C8.
In the 1970s, 3M had evidence of the compounds’ effects on the immune system. Those studies are just now driving the lower levels put forward by the ATSDR, several states, and the European Union.
In 1993, scientific literature states that goats passed PFOS to their offspring through their milk.
In 1998, a discovery is made that PFOS had found its way into eagles found in the wild.
In 2000, 3M gave the EPA hundreds of documents it had withheld from the agency. This means that these documents were in the EPA’s possession for at least 18 years without the agency taking definitive action. PFAS were allowed to spread into groundwater and then drinking water, families, animals, plants, and the food system, where they remain today.
Since 2000, the number of scientific articles published on the health effects of PFAS has increased more than tenfold. The findings have linked the chemicals to a wide range of health effects in people, including testicular and kidney cancer, obesity, impaired fertility, thyroid disease, and the onset of puberty.
In 2001, 3M staff epidemiologist Geary Olsen wrote a report based on an enormous database of more than 55,000 products and more than 90,000 3M employees. The report stated that a positive association existed between the amount of PFOA in workers’ blood and their levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
In 2003, Olsen and 3 co-authors — all 3M employees — published an article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that contradicted Olsen’s original research. “There were no substantial changes in hematological, lipid, hepatic, thyroid, or urinary parameters consistent with the known toxicological effects of PFOS or PFOA.” The authors note that PFOA was “positively associated with cholesterol and triglycerides” and that “serum PFOS was positively associated with the natural log of serum cholesterol … and triglycerides” but dismiss these effects as “minimal.” The article omits most of the original information that laid out the increase in cholesterol and triglycerides in exposed workers.
In 2005, many of the 3M documents were placed under seal as a result of a separate lawsuit over PFAS contamination in Minnesota.
In 2006, 3M was slapped with more than $1.5 million in penalties for 244 violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act.
In 2010, the Minnesota attorney general filed a lawsuit that charged that 3M polluted groundwater with PFAS compounds and “knew or should have known” that these chemicals harm human health and the environment and “result in injury, destruction, and loss of natural resources of the State.”
In 2012, Robert Delaney, a Minnesota state scientist who tried to raise alarms about the chemicals, was largely ignored. Now Delaney, who delivered a report to his superiors about high levels of the chemicals in fish and the dangers they presented to people, has been “heralded as prophetic.”
In February, 2018, 3M settled the suit for $850 million, in essence admitting that they “acted with a deliberate disregard for the high risk of injury to the citizens and wildlife of Minnesota.” The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office released a large set of documents — including internal studies, memos, emails, and research reports — detailing what 3M knew about the chemicals’ harms.
The EPA says it remains committed to evaluating PFOA and PFOS under the regulatory determination process using the best available science. As a part of the evaluation, EPA will be reviewing all newly available scientific information including the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) report. (Their 2-page fact sheet is quite helpful.)
The EPA says it is taking steps to accelerate the determination process before the existing statutory deadline, which is 2021.
So as you can see…..$1.5 million for 244 violations was not even a slap on the writs for multi-billion dollar companies. Even the later $850 million is still small change for these people. The fact that the EPA can’t do anything until 2021 due to existing deadlines shows that the system does not work for the people, it is there to support corporations.
When it comes to protecting you and your family….or your community, don’t trust corporations to do the right thing, don’t rely on the regulators or the government to protect you….it’s down to individuals like Robert Bilott.
Thanks again for reading. Likes, shares, comments much appreciate and PLEASE SEE THIS MOVIE.