Military firefighters are exposed to a dangerous amount of PFAS chemicals on a regular basis, and so far the military has been slow to provide adequate testing for soldiers to find out how much the chemicals have built up in their bodies. But even if they do test, there’s still not much that doctors can do, and most doctors admit they don’t know enough about the chemicals. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: Military firefighters are exposed to a dangerous amount of PFAS chemicals on a regular basis. And so far, the military has been slow to provide adequate testing to soldiers to find out how much chemical they have in their bodies. But even if they do test, there’s not much that doctors even understand about this chemical, because the industry hid all of the bad medical information about it for 50 years. Now, as you know, I tried the first PFAS cases in America, tried ’em with a very good friend of mine, a guy named Rob Bilott, who was, he’s a visionary here. He actually figured this out. And the first case I tried was a testicular case. Okay. Testicular cancer. That’s what these firefighters should be really worried about, is exposure to PFAS and testicular cancer.
Farron Cousins: And that is what we’re starting to see arise according to these new reports. And they don’t even know how many of these different kinds of PFAS chemicals are in there. They know there’s about a couple hundred, but we’re still not exactly sure. And the tests that they’re doing right now on these firefighters, when they’re doing tests, they’re not testing ’em all. They’re doing blood tests, which can detect a lot of it, but not all of it because sometimes these chemicals, as those reports say, it’s not just in the blood, it’s built up in the organs, and the different chemicals are going to different places in the body. So without actual tissue tests, you cannot get an accurate count of how much exposure these people had.
Mike Papantonio: We do know that it’s so pervasive that it’s in the livers of polar bears. I mean, it’s all over the planet and there’s only two companies that were responsible, 3M and DuPont, spread this toxin all over the planet. And when I was trying the, by the way, we just settled, I guess you saw the headlines. We settled for $14 billion for communities that had their water contaminated. That was just our first run at it. There’s a lot more that we’re gonna do, but at least we got some money to these communities to where they can at least clean up their water and have safe drinking water, because the levels of PFAS in the water was crazy in some of these places. But you know what, here’s the other part of it. When we tried the first few cases up in Ohio, there was what was called a science panel, Farron. And the science panel were the best, the best epidemiologist, toxicologists, the best scientists in the country. And they said they studied it for several years, and they said, it’s gonna cause testicular cancer. It’s gonna cause kidney cancer. It’s causing neurological problems. The list is endless. And the ugly thing about it is that both of these companies knew that. They knew it for 50 years and did nothing about it, tried to cover it up. And so, right now, even with the first $14 billion settlement, it’s not, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what these people made, but it’s our first step.
Farron Cousins: Yeah. And you also have the doctors that are treating these people coming out now and saying, listen, we can do the test and we can find out how much is in there. But at the end of the day, there’s still, all we could do is say, yeah, you’ve got this. They can’t get rid of the PFAS outta the body. They can’t treat it. So the doctors are kind of sitting there with their hands up saying, but well, now what do we do?
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Let me do a shout out for 3M. When I compare the conduct of 3M and DuPont, 3M at least came to the table. Okay. They at least said, we want to talk to you about solving the problem. I mean, to me, to do what I do for a living, and you’re across these corporations all the time, to have 3M do that, to me it speaks very loud. DuPont on the other hand, when we were involved in the trial, they tried to move it through bankruptcy court. They created this fake company. It’s now, it’s a real company now, it’s called Chemours. And what they did is they said, we wanna move all of our liabilities over to this nothing company. And then when the nothing company goes bankrupt, we’re through with everything. I love that 3M at least had the decency to say, we have a problem. Let’s go to the table and talk about it and do something about it. I know coming from a plaintiff’s lawyer who has been on the other side of this so many times, it’s rare that you see that.