When the U.S. Congress gets laser-focused on something, it compels industry leaders, bureaucrats and regulators to appear and answer questions. That’s what happened in 2019 when legislators wanted to find out more about PFAS, the human-made chemicals that are in hundreds of products we use every day.

Lawyer Rob Bilott had written a book called Exposure about the DuPont internal documents he found when he was preparing lawsuits against the corporate giant. A movie, Dark Waters, based on the book was about to be released, with Mark Ruffalo playing Bilott. The congressional committee wanted to hear from both of them.

Bilott appeared before Congress and explained his efforts to get the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate PFAS chemicals.

“I was doing my best to funnel as much of the internal information, non-confidential, from within the company files about the health effects of these chemicals to the regulatory agencies so they could take action. That's been going on for 18 years. Those agencies have more than enough information about PFOA, about the related chemistry, to act,” said Bilott.

Despite being accused by some committee members of using his appearance at the hearing to promote his movie, Ruffalo made it clear the film is meant to show how PFAS is hurting ordinary people.

“I want to give people a voice that don’t have a voice, and that’s why I’m here today, and that’s why I wanted to make this movie,” said Ruffalo.

Ruffalo pointed out problems with the overall methodology used to regulate chemicals.

“I understand today’s hearing is focused on PFAS, but the problem is not limited to PFAS. In America, it falls to us ordinary people to prove that the chemicals are toxic before they are regulated by the government. That is simply backward,” said Ruffalo.

The committee also gave ordinary people like Emily Donovan of Wilmington, N.C., the chance to speak. DuPont had a plant about an hour away from Wilmington that produced chemicals from the PFAS family — like PFOA, which DuPont called C8. The waste from the plant was dumped into Cape Fear River, which is the source of drinking water for more than 350,000 people.

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“Wilmington residents have three times more C8 ... in their blood than the national average. Some of these PFAS were seen in 99 per cent of the blood samples taken — 99 per cent. Ask any scientist and they will tell you rarely does a study find 99 per cent of a toxin in every person studied,” said Donovan.

Donovan recited a list of people her age with cancer.

“I’m 42 and my friend Sarah is battling Stage 3 colon cancer. My friend Tom, who is here today, has terminal brain and bone cancer. And my friend, Cara, has Stage 3 breast cancer, her gall bladder stopped working and recently developed hyperthyroidism. And her mom has blood cancer, and her dad over here has leukemia and bladder cancer. And my husband has a benign brain tumour and almost lost his eyesight, and I am frightened,” said Donovan.

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Wait until PP gets elected and we will be the same for chemicals, pipelines and mines because profits and economy are supposedly more important than citizens or the environment