The Sierra Club is hosting a discussion about the popular feature film “Dark Waters,” Wednesday, May 26, at 7 pm. Registrants to the free panel event will enjoy a talk about the movie and will listen to panel speakers who were directly impacted by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.

Individuals who want to participate in this informative dialogue will need to register on the Sierra Club website, but there is no charge for the event.

Before the Panel

Because the panel will use the “Dark Waters” movie as a springboard for discussion, people are encouraged to watch the film prior to joining the panel. Sierra Club had issued free streaming links to the movie to the first 500 registrants, but with the popularity of this topic and forum, they are now at capacity. Participants can rent or buy “Dark Waters” via Amazon Prime.

About “Dark Waters”

This movie follows the true story of a corporate attorney Rob Bilott (played by Mark Ruffalo) who discovers that a growing number of unexplained deaths are connected to chemical manufacturing giant DuPont, which has been contaminating the town of Parkersburg, West Virginia with unregulated chemicals. The company used PFAS to make Teflon for non-stick pans and a host of other consumer products.

It’s discovered that PFAS are forever chemicals that slowly accumulate, never leaving the bloodstream, and ultimately causing various types of cancer (liver, kidney, testicular), thyroid disease, and birth defects. The movie’s ending includes DuPont settling a class-action suit for $671 million, which settlement was orchestrated by a consortium of law firms, including Levin Papantonio; Taft Stettinius & Hollister, and Hill Peterson.

Contamination and Lawsuits Continue

Although growing, and well-publicized health concerns prompted the phasing out of these chemicals, manufacturers have substituted them with similar chemical compounds. Sub-group family members of PFAS (PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and others) are used to manufacture a wide variety of products.

In fact, since the ‘40s, PFAS (and their sub-group family members, PFOA, PFOS, and GenX, among others) have been tapped by U.S. manufacturers for use in a wide range of products. The lawsuits for the use of these chemicals in manufacturing have already begun, as residents who suffer illness and death demand that negligent corporations be held liable for their damages.

It will be interesting to hear what panel members have to say about the “progress” of things since the days of “Black Waters.” We hope to “see” you there.

Sara Stephens is a freelance writer who has developed a hefty portfolio of work across several industries, with a strong emphasis on law, technology, and marketing. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, as well as various technology and consumer publications, both print and online. Sara also works as a freelance book editor, having developed and edited manuscripts for bestselling and novice authors alike, and as a verbal strategist for a Miami branding consultancy.