The Poison Detectives

Episode 1
February 20th 2024

Secret Ingredient

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It begins with an unlikely detective. Diane Cotter wasn’t a researcher, a scientist, a journalist or a sleuth. But she became all of that after her firefighting husband got cancer. Then, dozens of his firefighting colleagues also got cancer. Diane suspected it was more than just occupational risk that caused these cancers.

She set out to answer questions of how and why and found herself pulled into a rabbit hole where the world appeared upside down. She discovered that the protective suits firefighters wear are contaminated with chemicals – called PFAS – that can kill. She found a scientist to test the gear for the chemicals, and the results are shocking. But it wasn’t enough to convince the union and the agency that approves the equipment.

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