Attorney and author Mike Papantonio joins David Pakman to discuss the latest 3,500 court cases against Dupont regarding the Teflon toxic chemical implications.
Transcript of the above video:
Pakman: It’s great to be joined today by Attorney Mike Papantonio, co-host of Ring of Fire. Let’s talk Pap first about the latest with the C8 Teflon DuPont case. Just sort of to refresh everybody’s memory, when some people hear about this case, they say, oh, this is the case about Teflon-coated non-stick pans. Those may have their fair share of concerns, but this is actually about a chemical involved in the production of that Teflon surface?
Papantonio: Yeah, it’s amazing to me the people that don’t understand what C8 is. You hear about Flint, Michigan and you hear about lead in the water, that’s bad, that’s awful, but here you have C8 in drinking water all over the United States in about 8 or 10 major, major urban areas. They’re drinking C8 not understanding … The very people who manufacture C8 as early as the 80s and the 90s, it was clear to them that C8 causes cancer. As a matter of fact, they even told their employees who were working around C8 that it will cause cancer, but they didn’t tell the people who were drinking it. What happens is, it’s … Two ways it enters the water, by way of air deposits, and also by the way of them simply dumping the C8 into waterways.
The Ohio River is a great example. They dumped millions, 700,000 pounds into the Ohio River over a period of time, and it ended up in people’s drinking water in 6 major drinking facilities up and down the Ohio River. They supplied water for about 80,000 people who were drinking the stuff everyday. Their children were drinking it in baby formula, but it doesn’t seem to matter. It’s a remarkable thing it doesn’t seem to matter to DuPont. Finally, the United States or the DOJ never had any courage to prosecute, they still won’t. Nothing’s really changed under our latest DOJ. In Europe they are, in Europe they’re asking real tough questions.
Amsterdam for example, you have the company being called in for hearings, and they’re just really almost a step away from serious prosecution, I predict.
Pakman: Talk to us so far financially what has been awarded, and how many individual potential plaintiffs are you now up to?
Papantonio: Well, so far we’ve only had 2 trials of 2 individuals. When the last one was tried, the jury came back with $5.6 million for a man who had testicular cancer about 20 years ago. The case was so strong it really didn’t bother them the cancer had resolved because, there’s a notion in this business and that is, that documents drive damages. In other words, once a jury sees that a real ugly culpable company has done some horrible things, they’re not really focused on damages as much as they are, just some type of retribution, and that’s what happened here.
The first case was the same, jury came back where a woman 17 years ago had, had kidney cancer. Part of her kidney was removed and they came back with about $1.6 million. There’s 4,000 of these cases, we’re going to keep trying them. The interesting thing about this particular case is we can try them for a very long time because every time we win, we are actually awarded attorney’s fees. In other words, the client is awarded that, and so it makes it fairly easy to be able to try the cases for a whole host of different lawyers that can come in there and with the facts that we have, they’re going to win most times.
Pakman: What this case reminds me of in some ways is what we’ve now learned about Exxon and how early they knew that their activities with fossil fuels were damaging to the environment. Your work on this case has turned up that as early as February of 1961, DuPont became aware that at least in rats, C8 exposure was linked to enlargement of the testes, kidneys, adrenal glands, et cetera, and there’s this chain of very incriminating documents going all the way back to ’61 here. The idea that DuPont just had no clue has really fallen by the wayside here, it’s just not believable.
Papantonio: Yeah, and to me, that’s why I keep coming back … To me it’s remarkable that Loretta Lynch or Eric Holder have done nothing about this case. They’re all into what happened in Flint. Flint was an awful thing, but here C8 is so ubiquitous now that they’re finding it in polar bear livers because it stays in the environment for 5 million years, it stays in the human body for 25 years. It’s what we call bio-persistent. Each and every exposure you have to the product builds up in the body and it runs a higher risk of causing neurological damage, birth defects, cancer. The Department of Justice has done nothing, has done nothing at all to look into this thing like they’re doing over in Europe, because DuPont has such strong politics in this country, and they’re able to back … They backed Eric Holder down, and so I’m sure the same thing is happening with Loretta Lynch. I don’t know how we ever hold them responsible David.
The problem is, you dress them up in an Armani suit, put a gold watch on them, have them driving around in a Bentley, and all of a sudden they don’t look like thugs, they don’t look like criminals, but they are criminals. They’re criminals who are capable of killing … Criminals who are capable of doing far more damage than anybody that typically ends up in prison.
Pakman: You and I have talked about how on so many issues there are really important differences between Democrats and Republicans, but when we talk about the power that some of these corporations have to really avoid any significant scrutiny from both Republican and Democratic administrations, is this one of those areas where Republicans and Democrats alike are both part of the same problem?
Papantonio: Democrats have been as much help to DuPont as Republicans. I tried a case one time, to show you how full the Democrats are behind it. We had a case, a horrible environmental case in West Virginia and the jury ultimately came back with $380 million dollars against DuPont, but the Democratic establishment and Joe Manchin himself the governor at the time was doing everything they could to cause harm to the claimants, his own constituents, and to prop up DuPont at every turn. That is the new centrist Democrat that unfortunately we see now running with Kaine and Hillary, not much is different. We see Democrats do better on social issues David, they do well on things like gender issues and rights issues, but where it comes to things like Wall Street where money affects politics hugely, the Democrats are absolutely, absolutely no different than Republicans.
As a matter of fact, I have a book coming out in September that I talked about this very issue, it’s a book called … It will be released in September 20th, Law and Disorder. I spend sometime talking about the fact that we’re kidding ourselves if we think there’s much of a difference here.
Pakman: Last thing I want to touch on, when you hear the reaction from DuPont to everything that’s going on with C8, you will sometimes hear this talking point that, hey, we’ve phased out C8, we’re now using … And it’s amazing because the name is almost the same, we’re now using C6 instead. C6 is already showing the same types of patterns in research that C8 was, isn’t it?
Papantonio: Actually, they’re showing worse patterns David because the biological uptake is quicker with the C6. Again, it’s the EPA asleep at the wheel, not really asleep at the wheel, they know exactly what they’re letting DuPont do. Again, money talks with both Democrats and Republicans, and that’s why DuPont has been able to kill so many people over the years with their product. We have people that died of cancer for decades and they never saw the connection. They never understood that they were drinking this cancer-causing substance in the water, showering with it, swimming in it, eating fish out of the river where the pollutant is, so family members die and they have no idea that there is a connection here.
Pakman: Before we let you go, tell us a little more about the book which as you mentioned is coming out September 20th. It’s currently available for pre-order on Amazon. What can you tell the audience about … There’s sort of like a fictionalized David Pakman in the story, isn’t there?
Papantonio: There is, you will like your character in the story David. The point is, the point I make about you and other people in social media, I used your names, sometimes I dress the names up, but I used you to make the point that without people in social media that do exactly what you do every day, these stories would never be told. Corporate media cannot tell the same story that David Pakman tells because David Pakman for example is not reliant on advertisers to keep them alive, the big advertisers like Ford, and Merck, and Pfizer. Your role, the role you play in this process is so critical to getting these stories out. That’s one thing I do with the … I hope you read it and you like the character.
Pakman: I will absolutely read it, and we will have more information in the video description about how to pre-order the book, and we’ll have Mike Papantonio back on to talk more extensively about it. We’ve been speaking with attorney Mike Papantonio, co-host of Ring of Fire. Great always to talk to you.
Papantonio: Thank you David, I enjoy coming on your program.