Mark Ruffalo Uses Star Power to Push For Passage of PFAS Legislation

Yesterday, in a tour-de-force of star power, the actor and activist Mark Ruffalo crisscrossed Washington. D.C. — from a Washington Post Live event, to a Capitol Hill press conference, to testifying at a House hearing answering questions from Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, to a screening of his new film “Dark Waters” at the Motion Picture Association — all to make the point that it is high time for the government to act to keep the public safe from a little-known but ubiquitous toxin called PFAS (also known as “Forever Chemicals” because they never break down) that can now be found in the bloodstream of 99% of all Americans.    The goal of this full-court press, and the well-timed release of the film, is to push Congress to pass legislation to fund the cleanup of contamination from and mandating the regulation of a class of man-made chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as “PFAS,” that are used in hundreds of products from cosmetics to flame retardant clothing to fire fighting foam to Teflon coatings and have been found to cause a myriad of health problems including high cholesterol, thyroid disease and cancer.

Why This Matters:  PFAS is the toxin in all of us.  The largest epidemiological study ever done in the U.S. concluded in 2011 that PFAS is linked to ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, pregnancy-induced hypertension, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, among other health problems.  It can be found in the drinking water of more than 100 million Americans today.  And yet is it totally legal to dump it into rivers and landfills without a federal permit or any notice to nearby residents.  In the House hearing that echoed the impeachment one nearby, witnesses told a sordid story of corporate greed, a massive cover-up, and the determination of a few good Americans to hold the chemical companies and the government accountable.  At the “other” hearing, the lead witness said, “This is America, and here, right matters.”  We hope that is true when it comes to environmental crimes, as well as high crimes and misdemeanors.  

DuPont Tried Not To Appear Rattled

The company continues to deny any wrong-doing even though it was basically caught red-handed (sound familiar?) and settled an initial set of lawsuits for $671M.  They sent a long statement to The Washington Post on Monday, which was read in its entirety at the Live event.  Here is the key passage:

“DuPont is in the business of creating essential innovations the world needs today. Hollywood is in the business of telling stories. While seeking to thrill and entertain, these stories often stretch facts. Unfortunately, this movie claims to be inspired by real events and appears to grossly misrepresent things that happened years ago, including our history, our values, and science. The film’s previews depict wholly imagined events. Claims that our company tried to hide conclusive scientific findings are inaccurate. We have always and will continue to work with those in the scientific, not-for-profit and policy communities who demonstrate a serious and sincere desire to improve our health, our communities, and our planet.”

To Go Deeper:  Watch the full hearing here.  Read the transcript of The Washington Post Live event here.  Most importantly, go see the movie — it opens in theaters on Friday — so you can learn more about PFAS contamination and the heroic people who exposed it.

What You Can Do:  Join the “Fight Forever Chemicals” campaign — click here to learn more and get involved.

Up Next

Despite Trump’s Claims, Warm Weather Unlikely To “Miraculously Cure” Global Coronavirus

Despite Trump’s Claims, Warm Weather Unlikely To “Miraculously Cure” Global Coronavirus

In recent days at political rallies and White House events, President Trump has repeatedly made the speculative claim that the coronavirus will go away “miraculously” in “April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April.”  

Why This Matters:  President Trump is again playing politics with science and the weather — bending the facts to fit his desired narrative that both the U.S. and China having it all under control when it comes to controlling the spread of the virus and that it is safe to make drastic cuts to government research on diseases like this one.

Continue Reading 544 words
Will We Learn Our Lesson from the Coronavirus Epidemic?

Will We Learn Our Lesson from the Coronavirus Epidemic?

by Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director of Asia, International Fund for Animal Welfare   One billboard at Wuhan Huanan live animal market, where scientists believe the Coronavirus has originated, sends a shiver down my spine. The sign from the store with “wild tastes” in its name reads like a zoo’s exotic animal collection mixed with […]

Continue Reading 622 words
New Reports Document How Trump Administration’s Rollbacks Harm Infants and Kids

New Reports Document How Trump Administration’s Rollbacks Harm Infants and Kids

Two new reports from the Union of Concerned Scientists explain in detail how this administration’s rollbacks of bedrock environmental, health and safety standards have exposed children to more poisons in the food they eat, the water they drink, and the air that they breathe and has actively suppressed the science that would give us a greater understanding of how children are uniquely affected by chemicals and toxins. 

Why This Matters:  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says no safe blood-lead level for lead has been found for children — they should not be exposed at all.

Continue Reading 521 words