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. Also, the thwarted kidnapping attempt against Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer begs the question: Are armed militia groups protected under the Constitution? Legal journalist Mollye Barrows joins Mike Papantonio to discuss.


*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:             Media coverage has been in a frenzy over the thwarted plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, which has ended with over a dozen individuals being charged with domestic terrorism. Mollye, your take on this, it’s probably the same as everybody else. First of all, do they even have a right to, to organize like this? That’s, that seems to be the talking point.

Mollye Barrows:                Right.

Mike Papantonio:             And yes they do.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             But where do you see this going?

Mollye Barrows:                Well, you know, it’s interesting. I feel like these are a lot of wannabes, you know, and it seems like there’s just a lot of hate and discontent in different circles. And then they get together, whether it’s the internet that made it easier or maybe their neighborhood folks, but this particular group of individuals, they organized their plot to kidnap her from a vacation home. Basically they were mad at her. She’s been a target since April when she did a harsh crackdown over COVID and they felt like it was their rights being violated. So I think whether it’s this particular group that’s in trouble, whether it’s the proud boys, whether it’s white supremacy groups, whether it’s even Antifa, it’s like anybody that has an ax to grind, there is an internet page for you where you can find likeminded individuals and create a plan.

Mike Papantonio:            All right, so I saw an interview that you, that’s for this discussion that was.

Mollye Barrows:                On NPR yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             NPR.

Mollye Barrows:                Whether it was legal to have them.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Whether, whether you can, whether it’s legal to do this, it was so, it was so wrong. The answers they gave in this interview, this McCord woman.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             Were so off base. It was crazy.

Mollye Barrows:                Well, I thought it was interesting and so before you tell me why it’s wrong, I’ll explain for viewers, essentially she was just saying, hey, our constitution doesn’t give them the right to exist. Militia groups were supposed to be formed by the government, for the government, in order to assist and help overthrow adversarial forces. So they’re not authorized. That was her take and you’re saying contrary.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, I’m saying the first amendment, look.

Mollye Barrows:                Free speech.

Mike Papantonio:             Everybody, if you’ve been, yeah, if you’ve been around more than 30 years, you understand the Nazis making this Nazi group marching through Skokie.

Mollye Barrows:                Right.

Mike Papantonio:             You know, and all of this, all of a sudden we find that they were, they were able to do that.

Mollye Barrows:                Because it was a peaceful protest.

Mike Papantonio:             It was a peaceful protest.

Mollye Barrows:                Even though it was a town of Holocaust survivors.

Mike Papantonio:             They, they’ve had situations where they’ve actually circled, they’ve, they’ve circled temples, synagogues. They’ve had demonstrations right out in the streets. The first amendment, like it or not, says they can do that and the US Supreme Court says, yes, they can do that. They can do this, of course they can’t go plotting to kidnap the governor.

Mollye Barrows:                Right.

Mike Papantonio:             But they certainly can have this organization. The other part of it was this discussion, oh gee whiz, this has only started now because of Facebook or, or social media. This has been around for 40, 50 years, hasn’t it?

Mollye Barrows:                Naysayers coup, you know, folks that want to start a coup or, or up, upend whatever power is in charge at the time. And I think that’s what you’re seeing now. It’s almost like anybody with an ax to grind can find a group that will mirror their thoughts. And then I think part of this too, you know, it goes to even Whitmer talking about Trump not denouncing it and whether or not you agree with his policies or not, people do have the right. That is what makes our country great. We do have the right to express our opinion. We don’t have a right to plot kidnappings and be armed and, and threaten the lives of other people. But what’s happening is that this, you’ve got a few stray extremists, it seems to me, in whatever group it is. And then suddenly when you have something like the death of George Floyd, they become, the attention becomes drawn to them because suddenly whether it’s Antifa or if it’s another group that is shooting or attacking individuals, that becomes the focus for the media, as opposed to the bigger issue.

Mike Papantonio:             Here’s, here’s what I was waiting for in the discussion. There’s a way to solve this.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. The way to solve it is there are laws that say, we can trace the money of where this comes from. And if they cause a problem, if they burn down a building, like Antifa.

Mollye Barrows:                Who’s fueling this, right.

Mike Papantonio:             Antifa burns down a building. Antifa holds a, a, they hold a rally where somebody is killed, somebody is injured. What you do is you trace the money. Who gave Antifa the money to do that?

Mollye Barrows:                Like a terrorist group.

Mike Papantonio:             If it’s George Soros, you go after George Soros, whoever. If it’s Koch brothers, you go after the Koch brothers. So there’s a way to get to that, but it’s not to say they can’t do it.

Mollye Barrows:                Right.

Mike Papantonio:             Because the first amendment says they can do that. They can’t go, obviously they can’t go kidnapping.

Mollye Barrows:                Commit a crime.

Mike Papantonio:             Commit a crime. But they certainly can organize. They can March. Again, how do you get any, anything more repulsive than having Nazis walking through the very center of a heavily populated Jewish area and to do that for nothing other than to make those people uncomfortable.

Mollye Barrows:                Right.

Mike Papantonio:             To make, to create outrage. Supreme Court says, yes, you can do that.

Mollye Barrows:                Yeah. They have a right to peaceably assemble, but it’s going to be interesting to see what will become of these groups, because unless they’re labeled as domestic terror groups, law enforcement is not necessarily going to look into them.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Mollye Barrows:                They’re just going to consider them, you know, just another group that has an opinion that you may or may not like.

Mike Papantonio:             Right. Mollye, thank you for joining me.

Mollye Barrows:                All right, thanks Pap.

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.