Via America’s Lawyer: Heightened PFAS levels in the arctic signal that cancer-causing agents continue to seep into aquifers around the world, contaminating our drinking water. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Major new studies have revealed even higher levels of cancer causing chemicals in America’s drinking water as well as all over the planet. As you know, I handled the first case ever tried dealing with this issue up in the Ohio river Valley. Tried, we, our team tried five of them in a row back to back. The, the defendant lost every time, that was, that was DuPont. But this case is really about 3M, isn’t it? 3M made a product PFOS, PFAS, it’s, it’s very, it’s a, there’s a variation of the chemical, but it’s all bad. It’s, it’s, it’s all bad. The science is overwhelming on this issue. What is your take on what’s developing right now?

Farron Cousins:                  What’s developing right now, is we’re finding out from all the most recent studies over the last 12 months is, is horrifying. I mean, this is an issue everybody needs to be aware of because we’re looking at a situation right now where more than 200 million Americans, possibly all Americans, are drinking regular drinking water contaminated with these PFOS and PFAS chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors. They cause cancer. They can exacerbate asthma, make it more likely that you develop asthma.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh, it’s worse than that. Causes birth defects.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean the case, the cases we tried up in he Ohio river Valley, I tried everything from cancer of the kidneys, cancer of the testicles, other birth defects issues. Here’s the problem, 3M knew about this within the first five years that they made the chemical. They hid it from about 1955, up until the mid nineties, hid it from the EPA. Their, their own documents showed that they absolutely knew that this chemical that’s used, it’s ubiquitous, Farron. It’s, it’s it’s, they use it on frying pans to make Teflon. They use it in clothes to make waterproof clothes. They use in Scotchgard. They use it, the place we’re seeing it at the worst right now is military bases use it as fire control. In other words, they’ll spray down an entire runway because a planes coming in and, and they’ll, they’ll, they want to make sure there’s no fire risk. What happens with that is it moves off into the aquifer, and then it, it becomes part of the drinking water. It’s right now, if we look at where this is, it’s in the environment for 1 million years, 1 million years. So if it goes into a river bed, it’s there for a million years, even if, even if the water is fresh, even if they try to take drinking water and take to filter the drinking water in a particular area, it comes back because it’s in the soil that moves into the aquifer.

Farron Cousins:                  And, and what’s also terrifying too, is it’s not just what we’re, what we’re learning now is it’s not just because it runs off and soaks in, we’re learning that this stuff is evaporating with the water and that is one of the major ways it’s traveling all over the world. This latest study from this summer was looking at water samples from the Arctic ocean, you know, not exactly a huge human population there to put this stuff in the, in the water and it’s there. And it’s there in alarming numbers because it’s evaporating and moving all over the globe. And that makes it’s regulation so hard is it’s hard to regulate evaporation and rain.

Mike Papantonio:                              Well, I mean, here’s, here’s the real problem, it’s what we call bio-persistent. Once it moves into your body, it’s bio-persistent, once it moves into the environment, it’s bio-persistent. That means it stays. It’s going to be there. It’s by you, it’s bio-accumulative. Each and every exposure to this product, PFAS, PFOS increases the level of your exposure. It, the half-life on the half-life on just ridding this from your, from your body is 5.4 years. That’s the half life. And that means every day you’re around this drinking it, your cancer burden increases, risk of birth defects increases, risk of, risk of gastrointestinal bad, bad gastrointestinal problems. They’ve just really started understanding how badly it’s affecting the human body. But when you take a toxin and you make the toxin bio-persistent and you make it bio-accumulative to where each and every exposure adds to that threshold, you’ve got a big, big problem. I don’t see an end in sight on this. I mean, I’m the guy handling this litigation all over the country. And as I look at, as I look at what the government’s doing, EPA is running away from it, aren’t they?

Farron Cousins:                  They are. And that’s another terrifying fact about this story. And that’s not just today the EPA is running away. The EPA ran away from it in the nineties and the early two thousands. They’re running away from it today. They always have.

Mike Papantonio:             And the problem is this, this never degrades. It’s always the same molecule today is going to be the same molecule a million years from now. Thank you for joining me, Farron. Okay.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.