The Devil We Know (2018) Movie Script

[birds chirping]
[water running]
[man on tape]
The state of West Virginia,
issued the DuPont company
a permit,
for them to run
their contaminated waste water,
down through two farms here,
out into this stream of water.
[camera flashes]
This is, uh,
151 of these animals,
that died on this farm up here,
since this stuff's been
coming down through this water.
And they wanna try
and keep everything hushed up.
Like it is some kind of big
secret of some kind, that
they're dumping it in here.
They won't tell us what it is.
They don't wanna talk to me.
Because I'm just
an old dumb farmer,
I'm not supposed
to know anything.
But it's not gonna
be covered up,
because I'm gonna bring it out
in the open for people to see.
[man] American production has
become the most efficient
in the world.
And as a result,
all factories
and industrial plants
are turning out an ever
increasing amount of goods.
Things that people
want and need.
DuPont research chemists
developed a new and unique
white substance.
The result is the greatest
advance in cookware.
DuPont Teflon.
There are two different types
of fry pans.
This non-stick finish
for cookware
never needs scouring.
All kinds of burnt foods
come out quickly and easily.
[man] Corn muffins
don't stick to Teflon.
[eggs sizzling]
Fudge cakes
don't stick to Teflon.
Even sticky buns don't stick
to Teflon.
Almost nothing sticks to it.
DuPont Teflon saves me
lots of dirty work.
It's so easy to clean.
This seal means DuPont
has approved finish,
there is no stick
and it's easy to clean.
[man 1] So look
for the Teflon DuPont seal.
-[man 2] Look for the seal.
-[woman] Look for the seal.
[man 3] Look for this sticker.
[man] Well, it sounds
great but is it really safe
to cook in?
[Sue Bailey] I was working.
And I had made an
arrangement for you guys
to get your picture taken.
-[Bucky] This one...
This one right here?
-[Sue] Mmm-hmm.
[Bucky] I always tell
with this picture. It just...
[Bucky] I just look at this
and I just...
This is
William Bailey III, Buck.
You were six years old.
You went to
Jeb Stuart Middle school.
In kindergarten, '86 and '87.
I just... I don't know,
I feel so bad for that kid.
Yeah, not because of anything
you... Just because...
The times were hard,
I knew you guys were
working as hard as you could.
And I'm wearing
a velvet green shirt, you know?
Uh, I just remember,
it was my first year of school.
That I actually
went to school
with kids.
-And I stood out.
That was when you were
first born.
How long do they wait
to take pictures?!
I'm sure they wanted to get
that one taken right away
There was chance
that I might not make it.
That's what they said.
[Sue] When Bucky was born,
I went into shock.
He was born with half of
a nose, one nostril,
a serrated eyelid,
and a keyhole pupil
where the iris
and retina is not connected.
You could tell
he was in distress,
because he couldn't
breathe really well.
I was scared to death
to hold that baby.
I was scared he was
gonna die in my arms.
Your dad didn't stay with me
that night,
I didn't want him to.
We just, each one of us
wanted to be just alone
with our thoughts.
You know.
And he, you know...
He didn't know whether
to go with you...
[crying] Or stay with me.
When I was
pregnant with Bucky,
I worked for
DuPont around Teflon.
They tried to blame me,
they said it was something
that I did.
And the more they would
tell me that,
the more suspicious I got.
But I didn't know what
I'd been exposed to.
And the first day that
I went back to work,
someone in our locker room
said a girl that worked there,
had a baby
that had deformities.
We got to talking about it.
It was just like Bucky.
She worked around Teflon too.
[car engine starting]
May the good Lord
bless and keep you
Whether near or far away
Those traditional ones.
I like that song.
My dad used
to sing to my mom.
She'd get about
half t'd off at him.
He'd had a little beer.
You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
He could make her cry.
I'm from Parkersburg,
West Virginia.
Been here all my life.
I ended up getting married,
having children and settling
down in this area.
I started with DuPont, 1962.
And I was there
almost 40 years.
In Teflon land.
[door opens]
First time I heard
that Teflon might be dangerous,
I was told by a supervisor.
We feared that it might be
detrimental to the women
who are pregnant.
So we sent all the women
home but it won't
hurt the men.
That's the first time I...
And I questioned him.
I said, "It won't
hurt the men?"
He said, "Oh, no, Ken,
don't worry about it."
As far as we know.
Can I have another bottle
of that B12?
It's one of those.
-Yeah, we have the 50.
-This will do it.
You didn't have Colostrum,
do you?
-You didn't have that day.
-[man] Yes, we do.
That's the thing...
When I was going through
the cancer real bad,
I started taking Colostrum.
And it helped me get
through all the surgeries,
and all...
I couldn't hardly get out
the chair, I was so weak.
[Sue] Well, when they removed
the women from Teflon
it was a big shock to me.
They just don't do that.
I knew right then
it was a big cover up.
And see, all that time
when I was pregnant,
I was in direct contact
with the chemicals.
I did tell 'em,
I told 'em
right to their face.
I said, "I know you're
responsible for it.
And you've lied",
and they're still lying.
But I knew I couldn't quit
because I needed
the insurance.
Bucky needed help right then.
[Bucky] The first surgery
I had, they...
They had on my eye.
From the time I was
a few months old
to five years old,
I probably had
about 30 surgeries.
Initially, I accepted it
and I just thought I was
dealt a bad hand.
I mean, I cared
about what I looked like,
I looked in the mirror
every single day.
So there were things I cared
about my appearance.
But my parents were pretty...
They wanted me to be cool
with who I was.
[Sue] Back off
of you little bit.
And here's a handsome
looking guy.
-Be 13, January the 15th.
-January the 15th.
Thirteen years old.
[Bucky] I remember
walking into seventh grade
for the first day of school,
and every person
just looking at me.
I was like, "This is awesome...
This is great, yeah."
[Sue] Bucky's playing
with the video game.
And then going through
the next phase of surgery
where I had
a balloon implanted into
my forehead,
and they would fill that up
with saline
to stretch the skin.
Which they would bring
down and you know,
use for my nose.
There is no pain that
I've ever gone through
that was greater than that.
I mean, migraine
times a thousand.
To go home and to have
that pain and for my dad
to walk in and say,
"Hey, get up,
put your hat on,
we're going out."
And I'm like, "I'm not going
out, Dad, I just got out
of the hospital.
You know, I'm not leaving,
look at me, Dad."
He's like, "You look fine."
He's like, "Look we're gonna
go out."
He's like, "You know,
the shoes you wanted,
those Airwalks you wanted?"
He's like, "Let's go...
Let's go pick out a pair."
And you know just...
[crying] Just thinking
about how he never gave up.
You know, he always
pushed me.
[man] Easy, easy.
[Bucky] He never
wanted me to sulk.
I'm cool.
He never wanted me
to be down on who I was.
And my mom was the same way.
They never let me just
be affected by it.
They were always leading
me through it.
You know, it really didn't bug
me too much
growing up as a kid.
I was just worried about
you know, making it
through the next day in school.
But it was kind of coming
to a point when I was 18-19.
I stopped thinking
about how I had been
dealt a bad hand,
and that was just
my lot in life.
Just thinking about,
"I need an answer."
You know, "I need to know
what's going on,
I need to know
why this happened."
I want you to notice
his height.
I want you to notice what his
eyes look like.
They're born that way.
Now, I never saw nothing
like this in my life.
It's very unusual.
Wilbur Tennant was a farmer
who sold part of his land
to DuPont.
The piece that DuPont had
was adjacent to his property
that he continued to own.
In their negotiations around
this, they said,
that they were
gonna use his land
for non-hazardous waste.
But very quickly he noticed
changes in the water.
[Wilbur] This is what
I've been talking about.
We haven't had any rain
for several days.
This sud has been here
for a while.
[Lerner] And he noticed
that little things,
little fish began to die.
And he began to find
dead animals.
[Wilbur] I've taken dead deer
and dead cattle
off this river right here.
And every veterinarian
that I've called
will not return
my phone calls or they don't
want to get involved.
[indistinct chatter]
[Mike Papantanio]
We are now on the record
and our time is 9:01 am.
Our opponent today
is Bernard J. Reilly.
Our court reporter
is Michelle Grey,
who will now swear in.
[Michelle] Can you please raise
you right hand and swear
the testimony you are about
to give is the whole truth
and nothing but the truth
so help you God?
Yes, I do.
Let's look at LP-2.
[Reilly] Yeah,
this is to Tom Adams.
[Papantonio] Who's Tom Adams?
-He's an old friend
I met in the army.
-[Papantonio] Mmm-hmm.
Okay, so let's
go ahead and read.
"The shit is about to hit
the fan in West Virginia."
Go ahead why don't you read
it because you wrote it.
"The shit is about to hit
the fan in West Virginia, WV,
the lawyer for the farmer
finally realizes
the surfactant issue.
He is threatening to go to
the press to embarrass us
to pressure for big bucks."
You want me to read
the bad word?
[Papantonio] Yeah, it says,
"Fuck him."
That's what it says.
I apologize to anybody
that's sensitive
about bad words.
Well, you wrote it.
-I was writing
to an old army friend.
Every case, in a complex case,
there's several parts to it.
One part is the work up.
That means finding
the documents.
It means trying to take
some basic depositions
to find out who did what.
Why did they do certain things?
How did they do certain things?
That's called
the discovery process.
The documents in this case...
They really tell the story
about what the company knew.
Isn't it a good thing
the company kept this?
'Cause we can go back
and look at history.
It is a good thing,
that they kept these documents,
isn't it?
You are saying
its a good thing?
Mr. Papantonio, you can
frame that any way you want.
The back story of this
case is interesting.
It started with a lawyer
named Rob Bilott,
he's a corporate defense
lawyer by trade.
And so this corporate defense
lawyer gets this case
and he starts looking at it.
[Bilott] When we got
into the litigation
with DuPont,
we got access to a lot of the
internal documents.
And we found out that DuPont
and another company called 3M
had been studying this chemical
dating back to the 1950s
and 1960s.
[Papantonio] Dr Karrh you're
being handed exhibit 30.
I ask you to take a look
at that and tell me if you
can identify this document.
[Karrh] Yes, I can.
[reading document]
[Papantonio] The heart
of the case is, this
plant in West Virginia,
they make Teflon,
they make Teflon that is used
for all types of sources.
C-8 is one of the elements
they need to make Teflon.
these are all names for this
group of miracle chemicals,
that came out of primarily
3M, initially,
and out of DuPont.
[Glenn Evers]
I started at DuPont, 1981.
Most of my career
was spent in the new product
development end.
Teflon is a very generic term.
The active ingredient
in it is Fluorine.
You hear the word
F in that right?
PFOA, PFOS, anything with
the F in it.
It is something you want
to be very weary of.
These chemicals have
these wondrous properties.
Non-stick, oil repellent.
Water repellent.
[Papantonio] How do you recall
C-8 first coming
to your attention?
The first recollection
I have of it is when
the supplier of the chemical,
the 3M company,
provided DuPont with some
information about rats
that had been subjected
to exposure of the chemical.
3M had some test data,
indicating potential birth
defects here,
in the eyes of rat fetuses,
following exposure
to C-8, correct?
That's correct.
So you did see?
There was a substantial risk,
to the women at the DuPont
plant who were exposed to C-8.
Enough to remove them
from further exposure, correct?
No. No. No.
There was no potential
risk to the women.
Based on the 3M study
there was potential risk
to the fetus.
"Parker has brought WV
another long meeting
to describe to the plant folks
where the guy who is
suing us over his cattle
grazing downstream,
of our landfill
would crucify us
before a jury.
Most simply do not believe
how big and bad
we would look,
and how sympathetic
a farmer would look
before a jury,
even though he is a con man."
You calling Mr. Tennant
a con man?
This is a letter to my son
I can tell you.
But are you calling
him a con man?
To his face.
And when you called him
a con man, did you know how
many of his cattle had died?
The short answer is
I did not know how many
of his cattle had died.
[Lerner] Within
a couple of years
his entire herd died.
For Tennant,
it was his livelihood.
"Advantages of settling."
Do you see that?
[Kathleen Forte] Yes.
"It says C-8,
in the stream,
we never told them."
Right? See that?
That's what it says.
[man] When did you first
become involved with
APFO or C-8?
I was first aware of it
prior to 1977.
Knowing that...
Perfluorinated materials
had been found in human blood.
[Cook] At first,
3M and DuPont
were checking to see
the contamination levels
of their workers.
And so naturally they needed
a control.
They needed to compare those
workers blood levels of C-8
with the population.
So they could see what
the difference was.
So they started going
to archived bloody supplies,
and checking to see
what clean blood
versus the blood
of their workers
might look like.
There was no clean blood.
They tested kids,
they tested adults,
they went to Asia.
They went all over the world
and everywhere
they looked practically,
they found their chemicals
in people's blood.
they did find some
clean blood.
It turned out it was the blood
that had been taken,
from army recruits
and archived, saved,
at the start of the Korean War.
That blood was clean
because the Teflon chemicals
weren't out into
the environment at that point.
The main sources of exposure
are still something
of a mystery.
The likely culprits though
are industrial waste,
and the consumer products
that shed this
material over time.
Today, every baby
probably on the planet,
but certainly
in the developed world,
where all of these chemicals
are widely used,
every baby is born with
at least some level,
of C-8, of PFOS and PFOA
in their blood.
That's the essence of exposure,
lifelong exposure.
And it's involuntary.
No one said,
"Hey, you know, I'm good
with a little Teflon chemical
in my baby's blood.
No one said that.
They said, "I love these pans."
We think of these chemicals
as associated with 3M
and DuPont,
but they had also sold
them to other companies,
that manufactured
consumer products,
manufacturing products.
It was used in airplanes
and cars, on and on
the applications were endless.
[female tv reporter] Workers
are now using Teflon
to rust proof the inside
of The Statue of Liberty.
I found that these chemical
products could bond
paper products to make
food wraps, grease proof wraps,
cookie bags.
One of the largest companies
had patents for making
popcorn bags.
[Cook] Thousands of facilities,
including the furniture
store down the street,
that sprayed a non-stick
chemical on your couch
to keep stains off,
all of those places
became environmental
contamination sites.
[woman] And today a product
that you'll find
Teflon is in
clothing and things.
Gore-Tex is the brand name...
And then you realize
that companies in Asia
and in Europe,
were starting to make
these chemicals as well.
[speaking German]
[speaking japanese]
This crisis has been growing
for decades.
And I think
with a chemical that is
potentially biopersistent
you pay particularly
close attention to it.
those are fancy words for it.
[man] What do you mean
by biopersistent?
When you die
and they bury you,
you're gonna have it
in your blood.
C-8 seem to have
half-life of humans.
[Cook] Sunlight doesn't
break them down,
microbes don't break
them down.
Heat doesn't break
them down,
nothing breaks them down.
They call this Fluorine
chemical, "The Devil's piss."
It was so potent.
Once it gets into your system,
it remains in your blood.
My gut tells me
the biopersistence issue
will kill us.
Because of an overwhelming
public attitude
that anything that is
biopersistent is harmful.
[Cook] And so naturally,
these Teflon
and Scotchgard chemicals
permeated the living world.
We didn't know it at the time,
but the evidence showed
that 3M and DuPont...
They knew all about it.
[whistle blows]
[Joe Kiger] Wow!
What a lovely bunch
of coconuts, okay.
Stay on the gym floor,
the boundary
of the gym floor.
Ready? Go!
[kids shouting]
Oh, no!
[laughs] Gotcha!
[exclaims] What did you do boy?
Bye, bye, bye.
Whoa, hey!
Good job, good job, good job.
Yahoo! Thank you!
[kid] Bye!
[Joe] I love kids.
Of course I'm a school teacher,
you know.
And that's the thing
that drove me
more than anything.
You know, I don't consider
myself a whistleblower,
more or less a fact finder.
Joe has a courtyard out back,
he calls it his man-cave.
And we were out there
just talking on a normal day.
I know it was October.
I had gone
to the mailbox that afternoon,
and I saw this envelope.
And it was from Lubeck
public water department.
I opened it and there was
a letter in with my water bill,
stating that DuPont needed
to know if I asked if there
was a chemical in our water.
They called it C-8.
I thought, "What's this about?"
[Joe] I read it.
I really didn't give it
much thought.
DuPont says
according to their standards
it's healthy.
Hey, okay.
DuPont says
its safe, it's safe.
Why question it?
[Ken] I was testing C-8
as soon as I started in my lab,
more or less.
From the get-go.
They always picked on me
for new jobs. [chuckles]
They'd always give 'em to me
'cause they knew I'd do it.
I'd learn it.
Where I was at,
I was isolated.
I mean, it was a big room...
With huge cylinders,
that were full of C-8,
and they would bubble over.
You can think of it
like a bubble bath
out of control.
That's the best way
of describing it.
[Sue] After they made
the Teflon,
it had water that was
discharged from it.
My job was to pump
it out back.
So it would go
directly to the river.
As C-8 was being
used at that DuPont plant,
3M told DuPont that under
no circumstances should
you put it in waterways.
It's right there
in the documents.
Don't put this
in the waterways.
But at the end of the day,
they start dumping
so much C-8 into the water,
that they, at one point,
lose track
of how much they've
actually put out there.
[Lerner] DuPont wanted
to figure out how far it had
seeped beyond its plant.
So a team of folks
went out with some jugs,
plastic jars,
and went to general
stores and went miles
down river
to collect samples.
They found, that in fact,
the chemical had gone
quite far from the plant.
Their own scientist
again and again,
their own lawyers,
in fact,
told them, you know,
we really should tell
people about this,
'cause they're drinking it,
they're bathing in it.
Who makes the final decision
as to whether or not,
there is a risk that
needs to be disclosed
to the community?
Well, again risk is relative.
[Joe] When we got the letter,
within the next few weeks
a friend of ours talked about
their granddaughter's
teeth turning black
and they couldn't
understand it.
And I looked over and there
is my neighbor's dog,
tumors all over him.
He couldn't explain it.
He said, "I've never
seen him like..."
Every time I see somebody
get sick it wasn't
just a cold or a flu.
Then I heard
about these young guys,
two of 'em,
having testicular cancer
in the area.
It got to the point
where something
just didn't feel right.
And for some reason,
don't ask me why or what,
but that letter
kept hanging
in the back of my head.
I couldn't get it
out of my head.
What's that doin'
in our water anyway?
I thought, "Well, shoot,
I'll just call the Department
of Natural Resources.
I'll ask him what it is."
Didn't know anything about it.
"That's not my field."
I thought, "Well, that
is a strange attitude.
I got a hold of
the clean water people,
I went to the wellhead people,
Department of Health,
God, I mean,
I got shut off on end.
I told Darlene.
I said, "Honey,
something's not right here."
So I called DuPont.
Talked to the head
toxicologist for 45 minutes.
Hung the phone up.
Darlene said,
"What did you find out?"
I said, "I was just fed
the biggest line of BS
I think I've ever been fed."
[Evers] We heard that
very early on in the production
of Teflon products,
there was a manufacturer
up in the midwest,
who called and said,
"We want you to come over
here and look at this.
We're heating up this Teflon
and we heard this pounding
noise on the roof.
It sounded like a hailstorm."
It was a flock of birds.
As they were flying
over where the vent was,
they just dropped
out of the sky.
By 1984, the company knew
that the material
was going into the Ohio river.
It was going up into the air
and they weren't telling
the community about it.
[Ken] Particles in the air
that came up into our own land,
we always wondered what it
was, it wasn't dust,
it was a white
kind of material.
It was all over the plant.
In the air.
I think that's how it happened.
When they cut me
for the cancer,
they took all my rectum,
part of my colon.
Your whole life...
Your whole life's
completely different, you know.
You don't sit
on a toilet ever again.
I change this thing
three or four times a day.
Sometimes five.
So this is everyday
life for me.
They told me
two months to live.
And I'm lucky to be here
telling the story.
[Papantonio] That's why you
called and requested
that I go ahead
and schedule the deposition
so you'd have a chance
to testify while
you were still alive.
Before I die,
I wanna get this out.
When you're down
there in the Teflon lab,
did you work with a lot
of other people, that have
been sick or died early?
One of my good friends,
Carol Caplinger.
He had leukemia of the blood.
He died.
How old was he?
He was only 50.
Forty-five, 50.
Anybody else?
Uh, Jim Rotwater.
The last time I seen him,
they were taking him
to Cleveland Clinic
and he died up there.
-How old was he?
Pat Ankram,
she worked B shift.
She passed away.
Joey Weaver,
they had him on chemo.
I knew him
all my Teflon days.
Don Lutz.
Lana Frankow, Daryl Chrome,
-How old was he?
And I lost a good friend,
he... He loved baseball.
Cliff Spiker, Steve Bailey...
Alona Carr, she passed away.
Paul Radall, gone.
William Peppers, gone.
Smith, gone.
Jim Hewitt,
he had tumor show up,
month later he died.
Is there any doubt,
in your mind
that all of these people
were exposed to C-8,
based upon your personal
To the best of my ability
I say they are.
Life's precious.
And to see somebody,
you work with every day,
my friends,
That's hard.
That was...
That was devastating.
[man] What's that?
It's a handkerchief
for a sweaty fat guy.
That's one thing that, uh,
I've never had to buy,
our handkerchiefs.
'Cause my dad
was a pastor,
so he took them all the time.
So all my own handkerchiefs
are my dad's.
Actually, the church
we'd go to,
he started it, yeah.
He passed away in 2008.
So, yeah...
You good?
-I just need to get some
bottled water.
[starts car engine]
I was probably about 19 when
I think we met.
[Melinda] The summer
before we got
married, so it was 2002.
[Bucky] Okay.
So we met then,
the funny thing is we didn't
like each other at all.
-Did not.
-Absolutely opposite.
I became friends, you know,
with people that knew him,
and they had us meet
and I was like, "No",
and he was like, "No".
-It was kind of like...
-I kind of pursued after her.
And it was more like
hitting a brick wall.
-She didn't really--
-I kept saying no. [laughs]
-He finally started leaving
me alone was the thing.
-Oh. Okay.
I kinda could see
who he really was.
That he really was funny
and a gentleman.
He treated people with
respect and...
Once he finally started
leaving me alone,
I could see that,
and then I started liking him.
We were engaged,
like, maybe...
Maybe two months after
I started liking him.
[Sue] That day was beautiful.
His father was still here.
We were very proud of him.
Both of 'em.
Bucky and Melinda.
[Melinda] Does everybody
have the verse?
-[Bucky] Yes.
-[Melinda] Yes, okay, verse.
You are good
all the time
All the time
You are good
You are...
[Melinda] Whatever happened,
you know,
made him who he was
and I guess it
didn't really matter to me.
And I guess later when
I thought a future family,
you know,
all that stuff goes through
your head,
you know, when you're like,
"This is the person
I'm gonna marry
and, you know, is this
gonna affect our lives?"
And I remember it more
bothering him.
And him saying,
how he would never...
I don't wanna cry...
He would never
wanna have a kid,
have to go through all that
he went through as a kid.
[Bucky] Mmm-hmm.
[Melinda] You know, I didn't
want to hinder him,
wanting to start a family,
even though it was
a concern for us in reality.
Before we started trying,
we wanted to see how high
his C-8 levels were,
and what was
in his bloodstream.
[Bucky] They had
a special geneticist
come in
and, you know, it was,
kind of like my biggest fear,
you know, being manifested
right in front of my eyes.
[Melinda] His levels were
so much higher,
higher than even
what his mom has
in her bloodstream.
They said that there was
at least a 50% chance
that it could be passed on
to the babies.
You know, that they could
end up with exactly what
he went through.
[Papantonio] Okay, it says,
"Big announcement",
go ahead and read that
next to the last paragraph.
"Big announcement,
3M, two days ago,
it is going to stop
making Scotchgard
because it is too persistent
in the environment
and gets into our blood.
They then told us they
are going to stop making
a related product
that is an essential ingredient
in the Teflon polymer,
also is very persistent
and also gets into blood,
but so far no
signs it has hurt anyone.
If it does we are
really in a soup,
because essentially everyone
is exposed
one way or the other."
[Cook] The first time we came
across this issue
was May of 2000.
And it was
just a short little story
that 3M had decided
to replace the chemistry
that was underneath
Scotchgard with something else,
and it was going to cost them
hundreds of millions of dollars
in that year.
[Bilott] 3M was
presenting to the USEPA
some information
that had just come in,
some rat studies with PFOS,
and the widespread presence
of the chemical being
found in the blood as well.
And EPA was expressing
concerns about that data.
[Cook] And so 3M
and the EPA
hammered out an agreement
where they would voluntarily
take PFOA and PFOS
off the market.
[Evers] At the time,
the best producer
of the PFOA chemicals was 3M.
DuPont looked
at that business
and I was there at the time,
and they said,
"Yahoo, the king is dead."
[Papantonio] And in fact,
within a few months,
DuPont made a decision
not only to continue
using PFOA,
but to actually begin
manufacturing PFOA at
its facility in North Carolina.
I don't recall
the exact timing or phasing,
but you are correct,
within some period of time,
we concluded to manufacture
the product...
And to continue using
the product.
[Lerner] Rob Bilott,
the attorney who was
working on
the Tennant case at that time,
came across this announcement
of 3M's decision,
and that in fact is when
he made the connection.
DuPont had dumped
a similar chemical in the water
on Tennant's property.
[Bilott] I sent a letter
to the USEPA,
on March 6th of 2001,
what we were seeing
in the internal documents.
Providing information
to the agency to let them know,
we think you ought to look
into PFOA and investigate it.
[Cook] Rob Bilott
would fight DuPont
to disclose documents,
that had anything relevant
to this chemistry.
As these documents
came to his possession,
he would send
the most relevant ones
directly to the EPA.
[Lerner] DuPont tried
to get a gag order
from a judge to stop him.
Because they knew
that he had the goods.
He knew what was going
on with their chemical
and could nail them.
Down here it says that,
"Bilott was given 130
of our worst documents,
that he got in discovery
to EPA."
-You see that 130?
Now, what are
the worst documents?
If you were to look
at the DuPont documents,
how would you consider
them the worst documents?
I'm not entirely sure
of recollections.
I assume they are
the toxicology documents.
All the way back
to the '60s,
they're aware,
clearly aware,
of the risk of the product.
Their own documents show
that this is a toxin.
[Billot] They continued
to find toxicity effects
through the late 1960s.
By 1988, they started
doing cancer studies.
In that particular study,
increased rate
of leydig cell tumors
were found, correct?
That is correct?
[Cook] Their studies
were showing
rats dying, dogs dying,
monkeys dying, they were
saying testicular tumors,
liver disease,
pancreatic disease.
Unfortunately, monkeys
even at the lowest dose
were dying after being
exposed to PFOA.
And they know that these
primate studies
have a direct relationship
to what we'll find in
the human population.
DuPont itself had
classified PFOA as a confirmed
animal carcinogen,
possible human carcinogen.
[Cook] All of this information
was clear evidence
that should have
been disclosed
under Federal law.
But those documents didn't
show up at EPA at all.
When they began to show up
as a result of this court case,
that's when everything
[tv anchor] When do you cross
the threshold from
convenient to dangerous?
That's what the
Environmental Protection Agency
is trying to determine
with a very popular chemical
in almost every household.
They just started diggin'.
Finally, I talked
to the national Environmental
Protection Agency.
And when I read
the gentleman the letter,
he said, "I'm gonna
send you some information,
and when I do, he said, I want
you to read it very carefully,
because after you read it,
you'll probably want
to contact a lawyer."
I said, "Well, okay."
Next day,
I got it in the mail,
I opened it,
and I read the information
and what it was,
was on the Tennant case.
[Wilbur] You see the
discoloration in that eye?
They're born that way.
Cow there, she gotta open her
mouth and I gotta
check her teeth.
They'll probably
be all black,
her jowl teeth.
This is what
her teeth looks like.
[Joe] The key part
of that was
is when they said,
the cattle,
their teeth had turned black,
I thought wait a minute...
They talked about
the kids teeth
turning black.
I started to put two
and two together,
I looked up in the corner,
I saw Rob Bilott's
name up there.
So I said, "I'm gonna
call this guy."
[Papantonio] It says,
"Learn in the depostion
that Earl Tennant
uses Lubeck drinking water,"
and we know that Bilott
has requested information
from Lubeck water company.
-You see that?
-I see that, yes.
[Lerner] So this letter,
it had a legal purpose.
According to West Virginia
law, two years after
this letter went out,
the statute of limitations
would run out.
And then you go on to say,
"The real danger is what steps
Bilott might take
to expand the number
of plaintiffs,
and introduce new environmental
allegations in this lawsuit.
And if he does
what will the court
allow him to do?"
[Lerner] The public had two
years to respond.
If there was no response,
the case was legally dead.
[man on tv] ...more rain
in the forecast.
Tomorrow 87
your high temperature,
and you'll see that pattern
throughout the rest
of the week.
[Joe] Rob calls me from
Cincinnati airport, he says,
My law firm
wants to take this case on."
He said, "Do you want
to take it on
as a class action
or do you wanna take it on
as a civil?
I said, " I've just got a gut
feeling something
is just not right here."
I said, "Where do we get
the most help for most people?"
He said, "Class action",
I said, "Let's do it."
I said, "No, absolutely not."
Because the involvement
with my ex-husband.
And because of the involvement
of our children.
My ex-husband
worked at DuPont.
So anything that might
cause them any pain
or anything,
I just didn't want them
to be involved.
But I could see
it in Joe's eyes.
And he said, "I really think
you need to do it."
I said, "If you want me
to I will,
I'll do it for you.
But we gotta be
very protective
and very careful."
Everybody in this area
one way or another
is connected to DuPont.
You go dealing with somebody's
livelihood which is their job,
which is their insurance
and their protection,
and you go messin'
with that,
you're gonna have problems.
[Harry Deitzler] You can't
walk into a restaurant
or any gathering,
here in Parkersburg and not
run into somebody that either
worked at DuPont,
has a relative that worked
at DuPont, has a good
friend that worked at DuPont.
The net profit for all this
if you're gonna turn
it into money is,
better schools,
better education system.
DuPont helped fortify
the city of Parkersburg.
DuPont is very good
at locking up the town.
When there is something
that is not going their way,
they'll help schools,
they'll talk to the churches,
they are very big on the PR.
[Paul Brooks]
They have unbelievable
reputation for safety.
Good jobs, benefits,
good citizens.
Everybody thought they could
do no wrong.
[Ken] DuPont was my idol.
I used to cut grass
for DuPonters
when I was young.
But I don't blame them.
It's the people who run
the company, the people
who make the decisions.
I should have
opened my eyes,
but I loved
DuPont so much.
And I felt they wouldn't put
me in harm's way.
We want to believe
corporate America.
It's too horrible to believe
that everyday we get up,
we're at the mercy
of a corporation
who might lie to us,
who might poison us,
who might create
a product that might kill us.
For profit.
"There was consensus
reached that the issue which
will decide future actions
is one of corporate image
and corporate liability.
Liability was further defined
as the incremental liability
from this point
on if we do nothing.
As we are already liable
for the past 32 years
of operation."
-See that?
In 1984, they already
admit we have been
liable for 32 years.
They had made a money decision.
On the next page,
"Looking ahead, legal
and medical will most
likely take a position
of total elimination.
They have no incentive
to take any other position."
-See that?
-[Holliday] Yes.
"A product group will take
a position, but the business
cannot afford it.
We know that there was
a discussion about,
do we need to come up
with something in our
Teflon production
that's not gonna
cause these problems.
And they conclude,
"If we launch something new,
it's gonna cost us
a lot of money.
We have to stick with C-8.
C-8 is the devil we know."
I think they recognized
that Teflon was
a significant part
of the business.
It all boils down
to economics.
Let's just ignore
the situation
and continue using PFOA.
'Cause nobody is gonna
force us to stop it.
[Papantonio] It's called
externalizing cost.
We want to make
all the profits at DuPont.
We wanna pass all the risk,
all the illness,
all the suffering,
all the cost of clean up
onto the tax payers.
[Gwen] We're having spaghetti,
I'm sorry.
[Earl] Well, I am too,
It's leftover so you know
it'll be good.
Everybody goes through
life thinking water is safe.
You go in and get it
out of your sink
and think, "Yeah."
To think that
an advanced country
like we live in,
who would think of it
being polluted
or dangerous?
[Earl] It's a sad situation.
It's terrible that you have
to be concerned about
the water you drink.
The Ohio river comes
down through Parkersburg
and goes toward us.
Supplying to people
in Evans with their water.
Evans is approximately
40 miles from the Parkersburg
DuPont plant.
[man] Parkersburg is certainly
contaminated with
chemicals, C-8, right?
I don't know if I would
characterize it that way.
Fifty thousand pounds put
into the river annually
is not a contamination?
[Papantonio] At one point,
DuPont came out and said,
"If your drinking water
is showing more
than one part per billion,
of C-8 then you better not
drink the water."
Let me give you an idea
why that is.
It's one drop of C-8
in an Olympic-sized pool.
Well, there's a hell of
a lot more than that
in people's water
in the Ohio River Valley.
[Earl] Probably
around '98 or '99,
my thyroid glands
was causing a problem.
-[Gwen] And high cholesterol.
-And I had high cholesterol.
And I was having problems
with my bowels.
And they came up
with a real bad case
of ulcerative colitis.
You have an ulcer in your
colon, and it will start
to bleed every so often.
And when it does, you better
be near a bathroom,
if you don't you're gonna
have an embarrassing situation.
[Gwen] He couldn't get it
under control.
His doctor told me,
he said,
"It's amazing that he has
not gotten cancer from it."
He said, "It's inevitable,
it's gonna happen from this...
It's not gonna happen now
cause I don't have a colon.
They took my colon
so I won't have colon cancer.
You know, I was always
thinking that one day
I could retire,
and enjoy life,
we could travel.
But not anymore.
I don't talk about this
situation very often.
I don't tell other people
about it... But...
[crying] It's changed
my whole life.
[man on radio] Now, a lawsuit
brought by local residents
accuses DuPont of trying
to cover up what it knew
about Teflon's risks.
Joe Kiger says he had
no intention of hurting
the DuPont corporation
when he agreed to be part
of a suit challenging
the health affects of C-8.
It was a class action suit
on behalf of...
It turned out
six different water districts.
And tens of thousands
of people.
[Brooks] Everybody said,
"Oh, we know
it's a bunch of crap."
You know, "DuPont wouldn't
poison anybody."
The shop talk was that Joe
was out to get filthy rich.
[Joe] We've had
some resistance.
I mean,
as far as being shunned,
wife got a phone call one day
and the guy gets on her
and starts cussin' her out.
"This is awful.
You are doing this.
There is not a thing
wrong with the water."
Why are you
ground beatin' poor
DuPont like this?
And we heard it from
people in that area.
[man on tv] Teflon the famous
brand name known
for non-stick services
may pose health risks,
the EPA...
[Cook] As the story
began to break,
DuPont scientists
were working to produce
public pronouncements
"Look, we've taken
a look at it, it's nothing
to be concerned about."
Based on our
assessment of the science,
we do not believe this poses
any cancer risk.
[Stacey Mobley]
Chemicals that have
an effect in animals
don't necessarily have
a similar effect
in humans.
[Lerner] First of all,
DuPont put together
this team,
of legal experts
and scientists,
to defend their chemical.
And it was led by someone
named Mike McCabe.
[man] Sometime during 2000,
you became the US EPA
deputy administrator, correct?
I received a commission
from the President to be
the deputy administrator.
Before that I was
acting administrator.
And in 2003,
you began working through
McCabe and Associates
for DuPont, correct?
[Lerner] Mike McCabe
had been the number two
guy at EPA.
And he got other former
EPA folks with him,
and they really pushed back.
[Papantonio] There was
a revolving door
that was taking place
between DuPont and the EPA.
DuPont had basically gained
control of governmental
The "Ask", you see the "Ask".
And then, "Ask" is in quotes.
"In our opinion, the only voice
that can cut through
the negative stories
is the voice of EPA."
The governmental agencies
that should have been
responsible, the EPA,
those people were
captured by DuPont.
It's called corporate capture.
They're sharing documents,
they' re showing
each other things
before they happen.
DuPont folks are requesting
quotes from the EPA to put
in their own press releases.
"Subject, Urgent."
See that?
"Coverage has been broad
in print and network media.
Significant disruptions in our
markets and our consumers
are very concerned.
We need EPA to quickly,
like first thing tomorrow
say the following.
Consumer products sold
under the Teflon
brand are safe.
Further, to date there are no
human health effects known
to be caused by PFOA."
DuPont did in fact ask EPA
to make those statements,
That's correct.
So all of a sudden
the EPA is sayin',
"Oh, yeah, we'll do
whatever you want us to do."
Which is a complete scam,
utter scam.
And it was very successful.
As for all those pots and pans
in the homes of Americans,
both DuPont and the Federal
government say,
there's no need right now,
Elizabeth, to throw them out.
No need to throw them out,
but seems like plenty of need
for concern.
[elevator bell dings]
[indistinct chatter]
-[woman] You wanna hear
the baby's heartbeat first?
-Yes, that would be awesome.
[heart beating]
-[woman] He's alive.
He's movin'.
He moved a lot.
So if you can get a face shot
that would be awesome.
[woman] Yeah, you have to use
your imagination.
Hands, eye, forehead.
-He's movin' around.
-I wanna see two nostrils.
We can try. Let's see.
I don't know how
this will come out on him.
But we can try.
Let me give it a shot.
[Melinda] I will say
this is something
we really had to pray about,
to know are we going to take
the next step
and have children.
[Bucky] Yeah.
There's definitely been some
struggles with it.
Basically, the bottom line was,
there's a 50% chance
that everything
is going to be fine.
[woman] Yeah, I don't think
I'll be able to 'cause
his hands are right there.
He has his hand
kind of over his face
like this.
So that's why you can't
see his nose.
This is his eyelid.
-[Bucky] He does not want
to co-operate.
He does not
want to co-operate.
[Bucky] I pray that our child
does not have any deformities
and he's 100% healthy.
But we're ready for it.
I lived my whole life
for this so,
it will be better.
[crying quietly]
We'll be okay.
[Melinda] So that's like
one side of his face.
[Sue] Okay,
how's this right here?
-You got it upside down.
-She tried...
Tried to get a profile.
-She was like, "Come on."
-She was like wiggling
on my stomach
trying to get him to take
his hands down from his
face and he wouldn't.
He kept like going
back up like this.
He was scared.
[Sue] Can't imagine him
holding a baby
and the baby being his.
And Melinda's.
They've been
married for 12 years.
I know they held back
for so long.
I just wish his father
was here to see it.
It's gonna be okay, really.
Yeah, I know, it's just...
I miss my dad.
I know...
Would love just to talk
to him about this.
[Joe] In 2005, we got the call
from DuPont.
They said that you know,
that they want to mediate.
Of course, we went
through negotiations
and everything,
for the settlement,
settlement amount.
[woman reporter] Now,
the implementation phase
of the settlement
in that case begins.
[Lerner] Generally,
with a settlement,
people just wanna
be done with it.
They wanna get their cash,
they wanna walk.
Because it's usually
a long time coming.
But what happened
in the case of C-8 was
really radically different.
[Bilott] Rather than just take
that money provided by
DuPont under the settlement,
and divide it up
among the class members
and walk away,
what we decided to do was
set up something called
the C-8 Science Panel.
The community wanted to know,
does drinking PFOA actually
have links
to human disease?
[reporter] The settlement
is far from the end
of the C-8 case.
It merely sets into motion
a blood test process which
six different water districts
are eligible to take.
[Lerner] That was a sacrifice
on the part of the people
who had won the money.
But it was one that could
have turned out paying out
for everybody in the world.
You have to remember
that DuPont has spread C-8
all over the planet
at this point.
The science panel was
important to determine
exactly how bad
this stuff is.
[Joe] I said,
"If this stuff is
harming people
and they've known
full well what's going on,
we owe it to these people
to get this thing right."
According to the settlement,
any of those people
in these six water districts,
could sue if the science panel
could prove the exposures
had caused any harm.
[reporter] DuPont remains
confident the test results
will prove C-8 is safe.
But a lot depends on how
many take the test.
[Brooks] It's my belief
that when DuPont settled
this case,
they had predetermined
that no epidemiological study
could be done large enough
to ever get a link.
And with no link,
the jury comes back,
you're innocent.
And you can never
be tried again.
[Deitzler] The problem is when
you ask people
to volunteer for a study,
not many gonna show up.
And so who's gonna do this?
We wanted to get this thing
up and running 'cause
the momentum was there,
the case had been settled.
So we put a lot of information
out in ads and pamphlets,
you name it.
Every type of media
we could get our hands...
We flooded the market.
[announcer] Healthy drinking
water is vital to all of us.
That's why scientists need
to know if the chemical C-8
causes any health problems.
By completing a health
questionnaire and having
your blood tested
you can help.
And you may be
paid up to $400.
To get started call...
We ended up
also using that money to pay
class members to come in
and have their blood
tested for PFOA,
and to provide access to their
medical information.
[reporter] This daughter
of a DuPont worker is ready
to cash her $400 check.
That's not too shabby,
coming in around November
for Christmas,
for a lot of families.
[reporter] If the research
ends up showing that
C-8 is a major
medical problem,
the impact will be beyond...
[overlapping chatter]
[reporter] And thousands of
people are undergoing tests
that may ultimately
help determine whether
all of are at risk.
[Bilott] One of the things
that was sort of an unknown
at the time
was how long
this process would take.
It ended up taking
more than seven years.
And the results came back
around 2012.
[Joe] Virtually, the entire
affected population
estimated at
70,000 people participated.
It's the largest human
health study in the history
of the world.
In terms of its
breath and scope.
[Bilott] The eyes of the
world has been on
this science panel.
The chemical industry
has been keenly
interested in what was
going to come out of this.
The designed the most
world that have ever
class studies been
done on a pollutant.
They spent seven years.
Seven years studying
this community.
What other chemical do you
have this kind of information
The science is unequivocal now.
In 2012, they said there
was a link between
drinking this in the water
and six different diseases.
Kidney cancer,
testicular cancer,
ulcerative colitis,
thyroid disease,
and high cholesterol.
[Gwen] We found out
through the newspaper
I was reading, I said,
"Earl, that C-8 can cause...
You know, I started
naming them, I said,
"You have three of those."
[Joe] Mine was cholesterol,
and high cholesterol
contributes to heart disease.
Well, I've got nine stents
and I had a heart attack.
[Sue] After the blood test,
I was notified that
I have thyroid disease.
[Ken] Was I a guinea pig?
What do you think?
That's what it looks like.
Was Carol Caplinger
a guinea pig?
Was Cliff Spiker a guinea pig?
Was Joey Weaver a guinea pig?
Were they thinking
we're dumb enough that
we don't know what's going on?
[Cook] First, it's the
workers you betray
by not telling them.
And then you betray
the community in which
these plants operate.
And then you betray
the community next door.
Who's also being exposed.
We're upstream.
We never anticipated
that we would be
included in any of this.
[reporter] Thousands of people
in Vienna, West Virginia are
being told
do not drink the water.
[radio announcer] Clean water
distribution sites, they're
open till 9 o'clock tonight.
They will reopen bright
and early tomorrow
morning at 8:00.
-Have a good day.
-You too.
It worries me.
We've got a lot of cancer
in this area.
And then you wonder why.
[Bilott] This is not just in
West Virginia and Ohio.
It's been found in drinking
water all over the country.
[reporter] PFOA have been
turning up in drinking water
in New York state, Vermont.
There are some new concerns
today over the drinking water
in New Castle, Delaware.
...the drinking water
in portions of
the Tennessee Valley.
This is something that affects
everyone all over the country.
You should be more worried
about people's lives.
-[people cheering]
And then every continent
on the planet.
[speaking Korean]
[speaking Dutch]
[speaking Dutch]
[people cheering]
[Evers] You have to realize,
the argument that DuPont says,
"So what?
It's in your blood."
[In Italian] No contaminated
And my position would be,
"You have no right
to pollute my blood."
[Bucky] I was overwhelmingly
disgusted by the findings.
The science panel came back
and said, "We haven't really
got a complete link
to your deformities."
When you look
at the deformities
that these animals had,
that I had the
same deformities?
[scoffs] That's
not a coincidence.
[Cook] You could argue that
Bucky Bailey's birth defects
were not related.
That the birth defects
of the other child
in that group of eight children
weren't related.
And I think DuPont did argue
that, that it can't be proven.
But the odds of that being
the case are very low.
You studied eight women
who worked with C-8.
Two of them had children
with birth defects.
That would not be significant?
In the realm
of scientific facts,
this is not considered
a statistically
significant sample.
[Sue] They said they didn't
have enough information,
how much information you
have to have
when you got two babies.
How much do you need?
[Bucky] How can there not
be a link?
It's hard for me to stay idle
and say,
"Okay, I accept this."
I don't wanna accept it.
May it please the court?
Ladies and gentlemen,
this case breaks down
pretty easily,
it's not as complicated
as you might think.
First of all,
one of the issues...
[reporter] For years now,
it's been argued that
this chemical is poisonous,
but for the first time today
a jury agreed.
Putting blame on DuPont.
A plaintiff in the first case
of a long line of
personal injury wrongful
death suits against the DuPont
company has been rewarded
$1.6 million.
[Lerner] It was
definitely a fasten
your seat belt kind of moment.
DuPont realized the jury saw
things in a different way
then they did.
[reporter] This case
is the first case against
DuPont that went to court,
and it's going to cost
them possibly their reputation.
I think everybody
saw the writing on the wall.
That if we can
win the first case,
we can win virtually
all of the cases.
A Federal jury recently awarded
$5.1 million...
The jury found that DuPont
acted with malice.
There's no money in the world
they can offer me
that's gonna justify...
This is a criminal offense.
The CEO's of DuPont are
walking around with their
freedom, untouched.
It's like if I go out here
and spray arsenic around,
and then it gets in people's
water, and they slowly get
poisoned, and they die,
they'll arrest me and charge
me for murder.
Then I'll go to jail.
$16 million?
This is a company at the time
that was selling $25 billion
worth of products every year.
I am not sure
what the right fine
would be for contaminating
humanity, contaminating
the living world.
But I am pretty sure
it's not $16 million.
DuPont's big give was
to participate in a gradual
phase out of C-8.
By 2015, nobody could
make C-8.
They say that we're not
gonna stop making Teflon.
So should we find some
side C-8 to make it with?
GEN-X is what
they are calling it.
When there is no safety
standard, there is no
required set of tests,
to bring a chemical to market,
you never know if getting rid
of one chemical is going to
result in bringing in
a substitute that's just
as bad or worse.
[Bilott] Once they started
making GEN-X, DuPont
initiated a rat study.
And the results showed
the same kind of tumors
that we saw with PFOA.
[baby gurgling]
Wow! Hello!
Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
[baby laughing]
You're handsome.
You're handsome.
[Bucky] I'll never forget it,
sitting in that pre-op
and just thinking,
you know, "What's my reaction
going to be when I see him?"
The first time I saw him,
they were cleaning him up,
they called me over.
And I'm thinking to myself,
"Please, Lord, I know this
is gonna be okay.
I know this is gonna be okay.
But what if it's not okay?"
[baby cries]
That cry I just knew he was...
His first cry,
I knew I was a dad.
It changed my life.
It really did.
His eyes are closed
but he's smiling.
This is heaven
right here for me.
This is awesome.
This is not something that
I should have to have
concerns about,
for years and years and years.
That my son can have
a deformity because
of some water,
or some chemical that
got in my blood.
It's not over yet.
This isn't the end.
We're gonna fight till
everyone is safe.
I don't know what C-8 does
with lifelong exposure,
but changes have to be made.
[Cook] We don't have
the science yet to explain
long term exposure.
But we're just beginning
to understand all kinds
of new risks.
At very low levels this
Teflon chemistry can
affect the immune system.
They can have impacts
on the nervous system.
They can have impacts
on how we metabolize
various food nutrients.
On and on and on.
[Bilott] If a person is exposed
to C-8 on day one,
they may not manifest
disease for years.
Children for example, we're
starting to see them become ill
with latent kinds of disease.
[Lerner] We don't know how
it will affect people
for years to come,
because we're just figuring out
what it is,
scientists are just
catching up with it.
And as they are doing this,
they've already phased in
the replacement.
So that's already out there.
You can see from this story,
from this vantage point
that it almost goes on forever.
[reporter 1] Drinking water in
North Carolina is being tested
for a toxic substance called
It turned up recently
in the Cape Fear River.
[reporter 2] GEN-X is the
replacement chemical being
used for Teflon production,
after DuPont was found to be
using a previous toxic
[reporter 3] DuPont did stop
using C-8,
but they've just replaced
one poison with another.