Time for EPA to come clean on PFAS
By Rebecca Fuoco and Arlene Blum | The Hill | July 14, 2021
Read the full article by Rebecca Fuoco and Arlene Blum (The Hill)
Early in the 2019 film “Dark Waters,” Mark Ruffalo watches in exasperation as hundreds of boxes of documents are wheeled into his law firm. His character — real-life attorney Rob Bilott — has forced a powerful chemical company to turn over information on toxic chemicals it dumped near a West Virginia farm. The resulting boxes fill up a storage room wall-to-wall, but Bilott sits on the floor and begins doggedly going through the files one by one.
After many all-nighters away from his family poring over the documents, he begins unraveling the toxic truth about Teflon, one of the corporation’s most profitable postwar products. One of the key ingredients, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), was harmful and the chemical company had known about it since the 1960s.
The box scene perfectly demonstrates the lengths scientists, attorneys and advocates have had to go in seeking critical information about health harm from PFOA and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that the chemical manufacturers — and sometimes the Environmental Protection Agency — have been aware of for years.