By Staff report firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Mar 19, 2019 at 10:17 AMUpdated Mar 19, 2019 at 10:17 AM
PORTSMOUTH — A group of environmental organizations will host several local showings of the film, “The Devil We Know,” which presents the story of how one synthetic chemical, PFAS, used to make many different products, contaminated a West Virginia community.
New research suggests nearly all Americans are affected by exposure to non-stick chemicals in food, drinking water and consumer products.
PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in products worldwide since the 1950s, including firefighting foam, non-stick cookware and water-repellent fabrics and carpet. They also have a range of applications in the aerospace, aviation, automotive and electronics industries, among others.
PFAS contamination has been found in drinking and groundwater across the Seacoast including at Pease International Tradeport, the Coakley landfill in Greenland and North Hampton, Hampton and multiple other locations.
Thousands of people, including children at two day cares, were exposed to PFAS contamination in the city-owned Haven well at the tradeport before the city shut down the well in May 2014.
“The Devil We Know” particularly highlights the impact on West Virginia residents caused by DuPont.
According to a Reuters report in February 2017, DuPont and Chemours Co. agreed to pay $671 million in to settle about 3,550 personal injury claims following the leak of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is among the class of PFAS chemicals, from its plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The leak allegedly contaminated local water supplies.
In addition to being a suspected carcinogen, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry states PFAS exposure can harm childhood development, increase cholesterol levels, hurt the immune system and interfere with the human body’s hormones. ATSDR also states its study also found exposure to various PFAS chemical can be linked to a decrease in “antibody responses to vaccines.”
The film screenings are a collaboration of New Hampshire Safe Water Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists, Conservation Law Foundation, NH Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program and Dartmouth’s Sustainability Department.
The organizers say there is little oversight over the chemical industry in the United States and invite residents to learn more about the problem and how to protect themselves. The chemicals have spread into waterways and the bloodstreams of fish, wildlife and humans.
A panel discussion after each screening will acquaint attendees with environmental advocates working on the issue. They will share political actions available to impact the problem and present safeguards against these toxins.
Upcoming area screenings include:
Thursday, March 21: Durham Public Library, 49 Madbury Road, 6 to 8 p.m.
Thursday, March 27: Newington Town Office, 205 Nimble Hill Road, 6 to 8 p.m.
April 10: Jewel Towne Vineyards, 183 Whitehall Road, Amesbury, Massachusetts, 6 to 8 p.m.
For more about the film and to RSVP for local screenings, visit http://bit.ly/NHSWADevil.