Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 8, Episode 25 - Chemicals - full transcript

This week John Oliver takes a look at PFAS a.k.a 'forever chemicals'. PFAS are chemicals that make surfaces which do not stick to other surfaces. But these chemicals have links to many health issues including cancer and decreased response to vaccines. These chemicals accumulate in humans and animals, don't degrade in the environment with lifetimes of thousands of years and cause birth defects; risks that were known to the manufacturers of these chemicals like 3M and DuPont. But they ignored the evidence, actively suppressed sale of less toxic alternative chemicals to protect their profits and didn't disclose the potential risks to regulators like the EPA. These policies of 3M and DuPont made these chemicals ubiquitous and are now present in the blood of almost every living human. John says that the only solution to this horrible problem is legislation which restricts the use of PFAS to certain applications and regulates the manufacturers of these chemicals. John also talks about the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act and how a couple of Democrats in the U.S. Senate along with their Republican counterparts are blocking it.

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WELCOME, WELCOME,

WELCOME TO "LAST WEEK TONIGHT"!

I'M JOHN OLIVER.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

JUST TIME FOR A QUICK RECAP OF

THE WEEK, IN WHICH THE U.S.

SURPASSED 700,000 COVID DEATHS,

R. KELLY WAS FOUND GUILTY,

AND THERE WAS A GAS CRISIS IN

THE U.K., THANKS TO A

COVID-INDUCED SHORTAGE OF TRUCK



DRIVERS EXACERBATED BY BREXIT.

IT CAUSED MASSIVE PANIC BUYING,

BUT ALSO, THIS INCREDIBLE

I MEAN, THAT IS JUST
EXCELLENT.

TAUNTING PEOPLE WAITING FOR

PETROL IN THEIR STUPID CARS BY

SINGING YOUR HORSE RUNS ON
CARROTS IS OBJECTIVELY

HILARIOUS.
ALTHOUGH I WILL SAY, WHILE, YES,

HORSE OWNERS DON'T NEED PETROL,

IT'S ALSO TRUE THAT CAR OWNERS

DON'T HAVE TO CLEAN UP THEIR

VEHICLE'S ENORMOUS SHITS.

SO THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER.

BUT LET'S FOCUS ON THE EVENTS IN



CONGRESS THIS WEEK.

FOR A START, THE SENATE HELD A

HEARING ON FACEBOOK AND

INSTAGRAM'S IMPACT ON TEENAGERS'

MENTAL HEALTH,

A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE.

BUT ONE THAT PROMPTED THIS

REMARKABLE QUESTION POSED BY

SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL:

WILL YOU COMMIT TO ENDING

FINSTA?

SENATOR, AGAIN, LET ME

EXPLAIN, WE DON'T ACTUALLY DO

FINSTA.

WHAT "FINSTA" REFERS TO IS YOUNG

PEOPLE SETTING UP ACCOUNTS WHERE

THEY MAY WANT TO HAVE MORE

PRIVACY.

FINSTA IS ONE OF YOUR

PRODUCTS OR SERVICES.

WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT GOOGLE

OR APPLE.

IT'S FACEBOOK, CORRECT?

FINSTA IS SLANG FOR A TYPE OF

ACCOUNT.

IT'S NOT A PRODUCT.

OKAY, WILL YOU END THAT TYPE

OF ACCOUNT?

WE... I'M NOT SURE I

UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE

ASKING.

YEAH, OF COURSE YOU

DON'T.

'CAUSE WHAT HE JUST ASKED YOU

MADE NO SENSE.

AND EVEN BLUMENTHAL'S AIDE SEEMS

AWARE OF THAT, AS HE VISIBLY

WINCED IN PAIN IMMEDIATELY AFTER

HEARING IT.

THAT IS THE EXPRESSION OF

SOMEONE WHO KNOWS THEY'RE GOING

TO HAVE TO STAY LATE TONIGHT

EXPLAINING TO THEIR BOSS, YET

AGAIN, WHAT "FINSTA" IS, BUT

ALSO WHAT TWITTER IS AND WHY

HE'S CURRENTLY GETTING ROASTED

ON IT.

BUT THE REAL DRAMA THIS WEEK

CONCERNED THE FATE OF

THE BUILD BACK BETTER

ACT... A KEY PART OF BIDEN'S

AGENDA, PROJECTED TO COST

$3.5 TRILLION OVER TEN YEARS,

WITH DEMOCRATS INTENDING TO PAY

FOR IT THROUGH INCREASED TAXES

ON THE WEALTHY.

IT CONTAINS, AMONG OTHER THINGS,

FUNDING FOR AT-HOME CARE,

UNIVERSAL PRE-K, FREE COMMUNITY

COLLEGE, STEPS TO ADDRESS

CLIMATE CHANGE, EXPANDED

MEDICARE, AND AN EXTENSION OF

THE CHILD TAX CREDIT... WHICH

ALONE IS ESTIMATED TO MEAN

4.3 MILLION FEWER CHILDREN IN

POVERTY.

IT IS A BIG DEAL AND

WOULD MAKE THIS COUNTRY A

BETTER PLACE.

BUT THERE'S A PROBLEM.

BECAUSE TO PASS THE BILL,

DEMOCRATS ARE USING SOMETHING

CALLED "RECONCILIATION" TO EVADE

A FILIBUSTER, WHICH REQUIRES THE

SUPPORT OF EVERY SINGLE

DEMOCRATIC SENATOR.

AND UNFORTUNATELY, MODERATES

LIKE KYRSTEN SINEMA AND

JOE MANCHIN ARGUE IT COSTS TOO

MUCH.

NOW, TO COUNTER THAT,

PROGRESSIVES HAVE SAID THEY'LL

OPPOSE THE BIPARTISAN

INFRASTRUCTURE BILL... WHICH

MANCHIN AND SINEMA WANT...

UNLESS THE LARGER BILL IS

GUARANTEED TO PASS ALONGSIDE IT.

AND IF ALL OF THIS

SEEMED CHAOTIC,

JEN PSAKI ATTEMPTED TO REASSURE

REPORTERS IT WAS ALL PART OF THE

THIS IS WHY WE ALL CAME TO

WASHINGTON.

IT'S LIKE AN EPISODE OF A TV

SHOW.

UH, WE'RE... WE... I... I'M NOT

IN A POSITION TO LOOK IN A

CRYSTAL BALL HERE.

WHICH TV SHOW?

MAYBE "THE WEST WING" IF

SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENS, MAYBE

"VEEP" IF NOT, I'M NOT SURE.

YEAH, OF COURSE YOU

WANT TO BE "THE WEST WING."

EVERY ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO BE

"THE WEST WING."

WHY WOULDN'T THEY?

IT'S AMERICAN FAN-FICTION

WRITTEN BY A MAN DRUNK ON

LIBERAL RIGHTEOUSNESS AND

WEAPONS-GRADE COCAINE.

UNFORTUNATELY, THOUGH, THIS

WHITE HOUSE MIGHT BE MORE OF A

"MR. ROBOT," IN THAT I'M NOT

SURE EVEN THE PEOPLE INVOLVED

KNOW EXACTLY WHAT'S GOING ON,

AND UNLESS THEY'RE CAREFUL, IT

MIGHT STOP AFTER FOUR YEARS.

ALTHOUGH I WILL SAY THIS, TO

BIDEN'S CREDIT, HE SEEMS, SO

FAR, TO BE SIDING WITH THE

PROGRESSIVES, OR AT THE VERY

LEAST, NOT SELLING THEM OUT.

WHICH MAKES SENSE... THE BILL

CONTAINS POLICIES HE RAN ON, AND

ITS CONTENTS ARE BROADLY

POPULAR.

BUT SINEMA AND MANCHIN SEEM

UNMOVED.

INJURE HIS CASE, HE WASN'T EVEN

MOVED WITH THOSE MAKING IT IN

PERSON THIS WEEK.

PADDLING OUT

TO HIS BOAT IN KAYAKS TO HEAR

HIM EXPLAIN WHY HE'S HOLDING

THINGS UP.

WE WANT TO GET A GOOD BILL

THAT'S A BALANCED BILL, THAT'S

WELL DONE.

AND I KNOW IT WON'T BE ENOUGH

FOR SOME, IT'LL BE TOO MUCH FOR

OTHERS.

IN WEST VIRGINIA, YOU KNOW, WEST

VIRGINIA'S A LITTLE BIT

DIFFERENT THAN IT USED TO BE.

THERE'S A LOT OF POVERTY.

WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO FOR THE

POOR IN WEST VIRGINIA?

WE'RE WORKING... WE'RE GOING

TO BE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO

CREATE GOOD OPPORTUNITY.

WOW.

I'M NOT SURE WHICH STAGE OF

CAPITALISM WE'VE REACHED IF

WE'RE NOW "KAYAKING OUT TO A

POLITICIAN'S YACHT TO BEG HIM TO

HELP THE POOR," BUT IT'S GOTTA

BE ONE OF THE LAST ONES.

I'M PRETTY SURE IT GOES OCEAN ON

FIRE, BOOKSTORE BILLIONAIRE

LEAVES THE PLANET, THEN

BOAT BITCH SAYS NO, AND THEN

IT IS BASICALLY ALL OVER AT THAT

POINT.

BUT I WILL SAY, AT LEAST

MANCHIN'S ACTUALLY

ENGAGING WITH PEOPLE.

KYRSTEN SINEMA HAS BEEN MUCH

MORE EVASIVE.

SHE'S MADE A NAME FOR HERSELF AS

TRYING HARD TO BE "THE FUN ONE"

IN THE SENATE, DRESSING HERE

LIKE A POWERPUFF GIRL IN WITNESS

PROTECTION.

BUT IT'S BEEN A LOT LESS FUN

THIS WEEK WATCHING HER TURN

BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT HER

BARGAINING POSITION INTO A

SHITTY GAME.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO

PROGRESSIVES THAT ARE FRUSTRATED

THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?

I'M IN THE SENATE.

OH, FUCK RIGHT OFF.

AND IT GETS WORSE.

WHEN THAT REPORTER ASKED HER A

SECOND TIME, SHE SAID "I'M

CLEARLY RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE

ELEVATOR."

WHICH IS ABOUT AS MADDENING AS

WHEN YOU TELL YOUR DAD "I'M

HUNGRY " AND HE SAYS " NICE TO

MEET YOU, HUNGRY.

I'M DAD."

I MEAN, YEAH, YOU TECHNICALLY

"GOT ME" AND YOU CERTAINLY HAVE

A PLAYFUL WAY WITH WORDS, BUT

I'VE GOT A FUCKING PROBLEM THAT

YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SOLVE.

AND THAT EVASIVENESS MAY HAVE

REACHED ITS PEAK WHEN SHE TOOK

OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF

NEGOTIATIONS FOR ARIZONA, WHERE

SHE ATTENDED A FUNDRAISER AT A

HIGH-END RESORT AND SPA IN

PHOENIX LAST NIGHT.

AND AMID ALL OF THE FRUSTRATIONS

WITH SINEMA, HER SUPPORTERS HAVE

TRIED TO CAST HER ECCENTRICITIES

AS AN ASSET, WITH ONE SAYING,

"SHE DOESN'T THINK IN A LINEAR

PROCESS, LIKE 'OKAY, WILL THIS

IMPACT MY RE-ELECTION?'

SHE JUST BEATS HER OWN DRUM.

WHEN SHE LEAVES IN THE MIDDLE OF

SOMETHING AND SAYS, 'I GOT STUFF

TO DO, ' IT'S BECAUSE SHE HAS

PLANS.

SOMETIMES, SHE'S JUST MORE

INTERESTED IN TRAINING FOR AN

IRONMAN.

MORE POWER TO HER, MAN."

EXCEPT, HERE'S THE THING, NO,

NOT MORE POWER TO HER.

BECAUSE THAT'S ONE OF HER OWN

SUPPORTERS TELLING YOU SHE'S

IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND,

DOESN'T THINK IN A LINEAR

PROCESS, AND WANDERS OFF IN THE

MIDDLE OF A CONVERSATION.

AND IT'S NOT GREAT WHEN A

SENATOR'S STRENGTHS ARE HOW I

WOULD DESCRIBE ANY CAT.

THOSE QUALITIES, IN A CIVILIAN,

MIGHT MAKE YOU A FUN ECCENTRIC,

BUT WHEN YOU'RE A SENATOR, IT

JUST MAKES YOU BAD AT YOUR

FUCKING JOB.

LOOK, THIS BILL COULD MATERIALLY

BENEFIT PEOPLE'S LIVES.

AND IF YOU ARE BLOCKING IT, YOU

OWE PEOPLE MORE THAN VAGUE

PLATITUDES SHOUTED FROM A BOAT,

AND A CUTESY "I'M IN THE SENATE"

COMMENT.

BECAUSE IF THESE TWO KEEP THIS

SHIT UP, THEIR WINDOW FOR SAYING

"I'M IN THE SENATE" MAY RAPIDLY

BE CLOSING.

AND NOW THIS.

AND NOW,

NEWSCASTERS TAKE ISSUE WITH THE

TERM "LEAF-PEEPING."

WE ARE GOING LEAF-PEEPING.

LEAF-PEEPING.

A LITTLE CREEPY BE.

LEAF-PEEPING.

I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT IT SOUNDS

A LITTLE PERVY.

THAT'S WHAT THEY CALL IT.

IT'S WEIRD, RIGHT?

A BEAUTIFUL TIME.

I FIND LEAF-PEEPING TO BE

JUST MILDLY DISTURBING.

I STILL SAY IT SOUNDS A

LITTLE DIRTY.

GET YOUR LEAF-PEEPING ON.

LEAF-PEEPING.

I'VE NEVER SAID THAT BEFORE.

FIRST TEN.

IT'S THE TYPE OF PEEPING

THAT'S LEGAL.

THAT'S...

THAT'S THE CREEPIEST THING

I'VE EVER HEARD.

I'VE NEVER HEARD ANYBODY CALL AT

THAT.

EXCEPT FOR THE PRODUCER THAT

ROTATES.

MOVING ON.

OUR MAIN STORY TONIGHT CONCERNS

CHEMICALS.

THE SUBSTANCES THAT, ALONG WITH

SPAGHETTI, HEINEKEN, AND HUMAN

ARMS, SHOULD NEVER BE KEPT IN A

VAT IN YOUR NEIGHBOR'S GARAGE.

SPECIFICALLY, WE'RE GOING TO

TALK ABOUT A PARTICULAR CLASS OF

CHEMICALS CALLED PFAs, WHICH

STANDS FOR "PER- AND

POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES."

THEY GO BY A WIDE VARIETY OF

CHEMICAL NAMES LIKE ALL OF THES

THESE, AND ARE USED BY

RECOGNIZABLE BRANDS LIKE

GORE-TEX AND TEFLON, AMONG MANY

OTHERS... BUT THE MAIN THING

THEY HAVE IN COMMON IS THAT THEY

MAKE SURFACES THAT DON'T GET

STUFF STUCK TO THEM, WHICH IS

SOMETHING A LOT OF US CARE

ABOUT.

ALTHOUGH, ARGUABLY, SOME MORE

MISSY!

YES, CHEF.

IF YOU SAUTE SCALLOPS IN A

NONSTICK PAN, THEY WON'T STICK.

THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED FUCKING

NON-STICK!

I DON'T KNOW WHAT "NON-STICK"

MEANS IN TEXAS, SWEETHEART, BUT

FUCK ME.

YOU KNOW, AS TEMPTED AS

I AM TO MOCK GORDON RAMSAY, AS A

BRITISH PERSON WHO HAS ALSO

INEXPLICABLY MADE A CAREER OUT

OF SHRIEKING OBSCENITIES AT

AMERICANS AND NOT UNDERSTANDING

TEXAS, GAME HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO

RESPECT GAME.

AND WHILE I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM,

HE SCREAMS, WE ALL SCREAM FOR

NON-STICK PANS, THERE'S JUST TWO

FIRST, THESE

CHEMICALS HAVE BEEN LINKED TO A

MASSIVE ARRAY OF HEALTH ISSUES.

HIGH EXPOSURE TO THESE TWO MAJOR

PFAs ALONE HAVE BEEN LINKED TO

HIGH CHOLESTEROL, ULCERATIVE

COLITIS, PREGNANCY-INDUCED

HYPERTENSION, THYROID DISEASE,

TESTICULAR AND KIDNEY CANCER,

AND DECREASED RESPONSE TO

VACCINES.

WHICH IS CLEARLY TERRIBLE,

ALTHOUGH ALSO SHOULDN'T BE THAT

SURPRISING, SEEING AS THE

ORIGINAL NAME FOR THIS SHOW WAS

"THAT THING YOU LIKE IS BAD WITH

SADDY LONGLEGS."

AND SECOND, PFAs ARE WHAT'S

KNOWN AS "FOREVER CHEMICALS"...

STUDIES HAVE ESTIMATED THEY HAVE

LIFETIMES IN THE THOUSANDS OF

YEARS.

AND THAT COMBINATION OF TOXICITY

AND LONGEVITY IS A REAL PROBLEM,

AS ONE CHEMICAL ENGINEER TRIED

TO EXPLAIN TO CONGRESS A FEW

YEARS BACK.

IT DOESN'T GO AWAY.

THIS IS A MANMADE CHEMICAL.

WE JUST PASS THE BATON TO OUR

GENERATIONS OF KIDS.

IN FACT, IF YOU WERE TO

INCINERATE AND CREMATE ME, I

WOULD TECHNICALLY BE A

FLUOROCHEMICAL HAZARDOUS SOURCE.

THE TEFLON MESH THAT IS USED IN

MY HERNIA PRODUCES A VERY TOXIC

GAS AND DECOMPOSES TO SOMETHING

CALLED DEVIL'S PISS, WHICH IS

HYDROFLUORIC ACID.

YOU CAN'T KILL THIS BEAST.

YOU CAN ONLY CONTROL IT.

YEAH, THAT DOESN'T

SOUND GREAT, DOES IT?

ALSO, IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE

THERE'S SOMETHING CALLED

DEVIL'S PISS THAT ISN'T

GORDON RAMSEY'S

VERY REAL LINE OF ALCOHOLIC

SPARKLING WATER,

"HELL'S SELTZER," WHICH YOU CAN

APPARENTLY GET IN FLAVORS SUCH

AS MEAN GREEN, BERRY INFERNO,

KNICKER TWIST, AND

THAT'S FORKED.

FOR PEOPLE WHO

HATE WATER AND THEMSELVES.

BUT THAT MAN IS ABSOLUTELY

RIGHT.

TO AN EXTENT YOU MAY NOT

CURRENTLY REALIZE, THE WORLD IS

BASICALLY SOAKED IN THE

DEVIL'S PISS RIGHT NOW.

AND NOT IN A REMOTELY HOT WAY.

SO TONIGHT, WE THOUGHT WE'D TAKE

A LOOK AT JUST HOW BAD THESE

SUBSTANCES ARE, HOW LONG SOME OF

THEIR MAJOR MANUFACTURERS KNEW

ABOUT IT, AND HOW HARD THIS WILL

ALL BE TO FIX.

AND LET'S START BY LOOKING AT

ONE OF THE MOST UBIQUITOUS PFAs:

PFOA, ALSO KNOWN AS C8 BECAUSE

OF ITS EIGHT CARBON MOLECULES.

3M STARTED SELLING C8 BACK IN

1951 TO THE CHEMICAL GIANT

DuPONT, WHICH THEN USED IT TO

MAKE TEFLON, WHICH IT MARKETED

THROUGH ADS LIKE THIS:

I USED TO BE A SLAVE TO

SCRAPING AND SCRUBBING POTS AND

PANS.

BUT I'VE BEEN LIBERATED BY

TEFLON.

FOOD DOESN'T STICK TO TEFLON

LIKE IT DOES TO OTHER THINGS.

SEE?

OKAY, "I USED TO BE A

SLAVE" IS JUST NOT SOMETHING

THAT SHOULD BE COMING OUT OF A

WHITE CHILD'S FACE UNLESS IT'S

PINOCCHIO AFTER HE BECOMES A

REAL BOY, AND EVEN THEN, HE'S

STILL NOT "REALLY" FREE, IS HE?

HE'S A SLAVE TO SOCIETY AND A

PRISONER OF HIS OWN MIND, JUST

LIKE THE REST OF US.

YOUR NOSE MIGHT NOT BE GROWING

ANY MORE, GNOCCHI, BUT MAKE NO

MISTAKE... YOU ARE LYING TO

YOURSELF.

BUT THE THING IS, BY THE TIME

THAT AD AIRED, 3M AND DuPONT

ALREADY KNEW THAT THESE

CHEMICALS ACCUMULATED IN HUMANS

AND ANIMALS, THAT THEY DIDN'T

DEGRADE IN THE ENVIRONMENT, AND

THAT THEY COULD INCREASE THE

SIZE OF THE LIVER IN RATS,

RABBITS, AND DOGS.

SO THE WARNING SIGNS WERE VERY

MUCH THERE BEFORE THEY HAD A

WHITE CHILD SLAVE CLAIM TEFLON

LIBERATED HER FROM THE

BACK-BREAKING LABOR OF SCRAPING

MUFFIN TRAYS.

AND IN THE DECADES THAT

FOLLOWED, THEY LEARNED EVEN

MORE.

IN 1981, 3M FOUND THAT INGESTION

OF PFAs CAUSED BIRTH DEFECTS IN

RATS, AND WHEN THEY TOLD DuPONT

ABOUT THIS AND DuPONT THEN

TESTED THE CHILDREN OF EMPLOYEES
IN THEIR TEFLON DIVISION, THEY

FOUND THAT, OF SEVEN BIRTHS, TWO
HAD EYE DEFECTS... INFORMATION

THAT, INTERESTINGLY, DuPONT DID
NOT MAKE PUBLIC.

AND BY 1991, IT HAD GOTTEN

UNAMBIGUOUS WARNINGS THAT IT

THEN SPECTACULARLY IGNORED.

3M TOLD DuPONT THAT UNDER NO

CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU PUT IT

IN WATERWAYS.

IT'S RIGHT THERE IN THE

DOCUMENT.

DON'T PUT THIS IN THE WATERWAYS.

BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, THEY

START DUMPING SO MUCH C8 INTO

THE WATER THAT THEY, AT ONE

POINT, LOSE TRACK OF HOW MUCH

THEY'VE ACTUALLY PUT OUT THERE.

WOW.

HARMFUL CHEMICALS ARE NOT

SOMETHING YOU SHOULD "LOSE TRACK

OF."

THEY'RE NOT YOUR CAR KEYS OR

YOUR MIDDLE CHILD.

OH, OH, I'M SORRY, I LOSE HIM IN

A SUPERMARKET "ONE" TIME AND

SUDDENLY "I'M" A BAD PARENT?

CALM DOWN.

IT'S NOT LIKE HE WAS GONNA RUN

OUT OF FOOD.

BUT WAIT, IT GETS EVEN WORSE.

TWO YEARS AFTER THAT, IN 1993, A

DuPONT COMPANY MEMO SHOWS THAT

FOR THE FIRST TIME, THEY HAD A

VIABLE CANDIDATE TO REPLACE

C8... ONE THAT APPEARED TO BE

LESS TOXIC AND STAYED IN THE

BODY FOR A MUCH SHORTER DURATION

OF TIME.

BUT THE COMPANY DECIDED AGAINST

IT, BECAUSE THE RISK WAS TOO

GREAT... SPECIFICALLY, THE RISK

TO THEIR BOTTOM LINE, AND THE

FACT THAT TEFLON PRODUCTS WERE

WORTH ROUGHLY A BILLION IN

ANNUAL REVENUE TO THEM, PROVING

ONCE AND FOR ALL CORPORATIONS
TRULY ARE PEOPLE...

SPECIFICALLY, SOCIOPATHS.
AND YET DESPITE KNOWING ALL OF

THAT, DuPONT KEPT PUSHING FOR
TEFLON TO BE USED IN MORE AND

MORE PLACES.
AND IN THIS AD FROM 1994, THEY

BASICALLY PRESENT IT AS BEING
WIZARDRY.

CHEMISTRY IS THE... IS THE

PRACTICE OF MAGIC.
PEOPLE THINK OF TEFLON AND THEY

THINK OF FRYING PANS.
TEFLON IS NOT ONE THING.

PUTTING TEFLON ON A SURFACE WILL

STOP BUGS FROM CRAWLING UP

TREES.

THEY'LL FALL RIGHT OFF THE TREE.

TEFLON IS A CHAIN LOOP, IT'S

SOMETHING I'VE COME UP WITH FOR

BICYCLES.

YOU KNOW, ONLY DuPONT MAKES

TEFLON, BUT YOU CAN USE IT IN

SATELLITES, ON FABRICS, OR

LEATHER.

WHEN'S THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD

ABOUT A LEATHER RAINCOAT?

YOU CAN LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN

WILD
IT'S NOT OFTEN YOU GET TO PUT

SOMETHING NEW IN THE WORLD.
OKAY, THERE'S A LOT I

DON'T UNDERSTAND ABOUT THAT AD,
INCLUDING WHY IT WAS SHOT BY

SOMEONE WHO'S STILL TESTING OUT

THE ZOOM FUNCTION ON THEIR

CAMCORDER OR WHY THAT INCEL

SANTA GIGGLED SO MENACINGLY AT

THE IDEA OF A NONSTICK LEATHER

RAINCOAT.

ALTHOUGH I WILL SAY,

IF THAT'S HIS BAR, IT

DOES SEEM PRETTY EASY TO MAKE

SOMETHING NEW IN THE WORLD.

LEATHER UMBRELLA,

LEATHER FLOWER, LEATHER SNAKE,

AND LEATHER ELMO.

THAT IS FOUR GREAT IDEAS I JUST

CAME UP WITH, AND I'M NOT EVEN A

PhD IN A COSBY SWEATER.

AND IF YOU'RE WONDERING WHERE

THE EPA WAS IN ALL THIS, YOU

SHOULD KNOW, THEY WERE MORE THAN

A LITTLE HAMSTRUNG HERE.

UNDER THE 1976 TOXIC SUBSTANCES

CONTROL ACT, THE EPA CAN REQUIRE
TESTING FOR CHEMICALS ONLY WHEN

IT'S BEEN PROVIDED EVIDENCE OF

POTENTIAL HARM... A SETUP "WHICH

LARGELY ALLOWS CHEMICAL

COMPANIES TO REGULATE

THEMSELVES."

WHICH IS AN ABSOLUTELY

TERRIFYING SEQUENCE OF WORDS

RIGHT UP THERE WITH "INCOMING

FACETIME FROM JEFFREY TOOBIN."

NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR THAT.

AND EVEN WHEN THE EPA HAS TAKEN

STEPS, THEY'VE BEEN PRETTY

LIMITED.

FOR INSTANCE, IN 2016, THEY

ISSUED A HEALTH ADVISORY FOR TWO

OF THE BIGGEST PFAs... INCLUDING

C8... SETTING AN "ACCEPTABLE

LEVEL" FOR THEM IN DRINKING

WATER OF 70 PARTS PER TRILLION,

WHICH, INCIDENTALLY, A LOT OF

PEOPLE STILL THINK IS TOO HIGH.

BUT ALSO, CRUCIALLY, AN EPA

HEALTH ADVISORY IS

NON-ENFORCEABLE.

ALL

AND NO ONE IS GOING TO RESPECT A

RULE IF IT'S NOT ENFORCED.

IT'S LIKE ONE OF THOSE SIGNS

EVERYONE SEES BUT IGNORES, LIKE

"PLEASE TAKE ONE" ON A CANDY

BOWL OR "PLEASE, NO SCULPTURE

FUCKING" AT MADAME TUSSAUDS.

I'M DOING IT.

I'M TAKING TWO FUN-SIZE SNICKERS

BARS, AND THEN I'M GONNA FUCK

WAX MICHAEL BUBLE.

I'M DOING IT.

IT'S ALREADY DONE.

GET OVER IT.

AND THAT LAX LEVEL OF OVERSIGHT,

COMBINED WITH DUMPING ON A SCALE

SO HIGH THEY "LOSE TRACK" OF IT,

HAS HAD SEVERE CONSEQUENCES.

WHEN EPIDEMIOLOGISTS STUDIED THE

MEDICAL HISTORY OF PEOPLE WHO

LIVED NEAR A DuPONT PLANT, THEY

FOUND RESIDENTS WITH HIGHER

EXPOSURE TO DRINKING WATER

CONTAMINATED WITH C8 HAD MUCH

HIGHER RATES OF KIDNEY AND

TESTICULAR CANCERS.

AND IT WAS EVEN WORSE FOR THE

PEOPLE WORKING INSIDE THE

FACILITIES... AS THIS MAN, WHO

WORKED IN ONE OF DUPONT'S

TESTING LABS, AND HAS BEEN

DIAGNOSED WITH ULCERATIVE

COLITIS AND RECTAL CANCER, CAN

ATTEST.

PEOPLE WOULD HANDLE THAT

PRODUCT ON THE JOB, EVERY DAY,

DAY IN, NIGHT OUT, AND THEN WE

WENT TO 12-HOURS SHIFTS,

AT 12 HOURS AT A TIME,

WE HEATED IT AND BREATHED IT

EVERY DAY.

KEN WORKED ON A FOUR-MAN TEAM AT

DuPONT'S PLANT TESTING C8

BETWEEN 1974 AND 2001.

OF THE FOUR, HE IS THE ONLY ONE

STILL ALIVE.

THE PEOPLE I LOVED, THEY

DIED.

WE WERE LIKE A FAMILY.

LOOK, THAT IS CLEARLY

AWFUL.

BUT YOU DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE TO

LIVE IN A TOWN WHERE PFAs ARE

DUMPED, OR WORK IN A FACTORY

THAT MAKES THEM, TO BE AFFECTED.

REMEMBER, PFAs LAST A LONG TIME,

SO IF THEY SINK INTO THE

GROUNDWATER OR ARE RELEASED INTO

THE AIR, THEY CAN TRAVEL.

AND THEY CAN BIOACCUMULATE,

MEANING THEY BUILD UP IN YOUR

BODY OVER TIME.

AND THAT BRINGS US TO A SHOCKING

DISCOVERY.

BECAUSE IN THE 1970s, DuPONT

AND 3M STARTED TESTING WORKERS

TO CHECK THE LEVELS OF PFAs IN

THEIR BLOOD.

AND 3M WANTED A CONTROL GROUP

WITH "CLEAN BLOOD" SO THEY'D

HAVE A BASELINE.

BUT AS THIS ENVIRONMENTAL

ACTIVIST POINTS OUT, THE COMPANY

QUICKLY REALIZED SOMETHING

TRULY HORRIFYING.

THERE WAS NO CLEAN BLOOD.

THEY TESTED KIDS, THEY TESTED

ADULTS, THEY WENT TO ASIA, THEY

WENT ALL OVER THE WORLD AND

EVERYWHERE THEY LOOKED,

PRACTICALLY, THEY FOUND THEIR

CHEMICALS IN PEOPLE'S BLOOD.

EVENTUALLY, THEY DID FIND SOME

CLEAN BLOOD.

IT TURNED OUT IT WAS THE BLOOD

THAT HAD BEEN TAKEN FROM ARMY

RECRUITS AND ARCHIVED, SAVED, AT

THE START OF THE KOREAN WAR.

YEAH, IT'S TRUE.

IN FACT, A CDC STUDY HAS FOUND

THAT C8 IS NOW IN THE BLOOD OF

99.7% OF AMERICANS.

MEANING, AT THE VERY LEAST,

VIN DIESEL AND I FINALLY HAVE

SOMETHING IN COMMON.

EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT OUR

GENETIC MAKEUP, GENERAL

ATTITUDE, AND VOCAL TIMBRE IS

DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT, BUT WHEN

IT COMES TO TOXIC CHEMICALS IN

OUR BLOOD... IT'S POTATO,

POTAHTO, MY FRIEND.

OR SHOULD I SAY, MY FAMILY.

AND WHILE DuPONT MAY BE A

PARTICULARLY STARK EXAMPLE,

THEY'RE FAR FROM THE ONLY ENTITY

INVOLVED HERE.

THE MILITARY USES PFAs IN FOAM

TO EXTINGUISH FIRES, SO THEY'VE

BUILT UP AROUND MILITARY BASES.

AND MANY COMPANIES HAVE USED A

LOT OF PFAs IN A LOT OF THEIR

PRODUCTS.

FOR INSTANCE, A SHOE COMPANY

CALLED WOLVERINE USED PFAs IN

ITS WATERPROOF HUSH PUPPIES.

BUT IT WAS ONLY AFTER LOCAL

REPORTING THAT RESIDENTS NEAR

ITS FACTORY IN BELMONT,

MICHIGAN, KNEW TO GET THEIR

WATER TESTED... AND FOR ONE

FAMILY, THE McNAUGHTONS, THE

RESULTS WERE PRETTY STRIKING.

AND BEFORE YOU WATCH THIS,

THE EPA'S ACCEPTABLE

LEVEL IN DRINKING WATER IS

70 PARTS PER TRILLION.

THEY LIVED IN THEIR HOUSE

ABOUT THREE YEARS WHEN TOBYN

LEARNED SHE WAS PREGNANT WITH

THEIR SON, JACK.

WE WERE REALLY EXCITED.

I WANTED THAT TO GO REALLY WELL,

SO I DRANK EIGHT GLASSES OF

WATER A DAY.

I, LIKE, KEPT TRACK.

I ATE REALLY HEALTHY.

IN APRIL OF 2016, JACK WAS

BORN.

HE HAD AN IMMENSE APPETITE

FOR WATER.

HE WAS THIRSTY ALL THE TIME.

TEST SHOWED ALMOST 2,000

PARTS PER TRILLION OF PFAs IN

THE MCNAUGHTON'S WATER.

AS SOON AS THEY COULD, TOBYN AND

SETH HAD JACK'S BLOOD TESTED.

THE RESULTS... 484,000 PARTS PER

TRILLION, MORE THAN 100 TIMES

THE NATIONAL AVERAGE.

HE'S THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF

PFAs THAT WE KNOW RIGHT NOW OF

ANY CHILD IN THE UNITED STATES.

HE GETS SICK MORE OFTEN AND HIS

VACCINATIONS HAVEN'T WORKED.

WOW, THAT IS

INCREDIBLE.

USUALLY WHEN YOUR CHILD IS THE

HIGHEST IN SOMETHING, YOUR

INSTINCT IS TO BRAG ABOUT IT,

BUT GOOD LUCK FINDING A BUMPER

STICKER WITH "MY CHILD HAS THE

HIGHEST LEVEL OF PFAs IN THE

UNITED STATES."

NOBODY WANTS THAT SHIT.

AND LOOK, I HAVE TO TELL YOU:

WOLVERINE SAYS IT'S MOVED TO FIX

THE PROBLEM FOR HOMEOWNERS IN

THAT AREA, ALTHOUGH YOU SHOULD

KNOW, IT IS JUST NOT A SIMPLE

THING TO GO ABOUT DOING.

THIS IS WHAT I AFFECTIONATELY

CALL MEGATRON... MY WHOLE HOME

FILTER, THIS RIGHT HERE.

BUT IT GOES THROUGH EACH OF

THESE TANKS... THESE ARE FULL OF

GRANULATED CARBON AND IT GOES

THROUGH THEM IN ORDER AND THEN

COMES OUT THIS ONE AND IS CLEAN.

SO EVERY WEEK THEY COME AND TEST

IT AT THE INTAKE AND THEN ALSO

AT THE EXIT SO THAT WE KNOW THAT

THE WATER IS EMPTY OF THAT.

OH, GREAT NEWS!

YOU DID IT, WOLVERINE!

PROBLEM SOLVED.

ALL IT TAKES IS A FOUR-TANK

SYSTEM AFFECTIONATELY NICKNAMED

"MEGATRON," A SPARE ROOM LARGE

ENOUGH TO HOUSE IT, AND A WEEKLY

VISIT FROM A TANK TECHNICIAN FOR

THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

WATER PROBLEM?

MORE LIKE "WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?"

THIS IS A SYSTEM THAT WORKS.

BUT CLEARLY, A MEGATRON IN EVERY

HOME IS NOT A VIABLE SOLUTION

FOR THIS OR, INDEED, ANY

PROBLEM.

AND MAYBE BECAUSE OF THAT... AND

DEFINITELY BECAUSE OF A

COURT-APPROVED SETTLEMENT...

WOLVERINE HAS SINCE GONE TO THE

TROUBLE AND EXPENSE OF SWITCHING

THAT WOMAN FROM HER TAINTED WELL

WATER TO THE MUNICIPAL WATER

SUPPLY.

AND YET, MANY COMPANIES ARE

CONTINUING TO DO THE BARE

MINIMUM HERE OR EVEN TRYING TO

EVADE RESPONSIBILITY.

DuPONT, FOR INSTANCE, SETTLED A

CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT WITH

RESIDENTS OF THE TOWN WHERE IT

WAS DUMPING C8, AND, SHORTLY

AFTERWARD, AGREED TO EVENTUALLY

PHASE OUT USING THE CHEMICAL.

WHICH SOUNDS GOOD.

BUT THERE ARE SOME SIGNIFICANT

ASTERISKS ON THAT.

BECAUSE WHILE THEY DID STOP

USING C8, THEY SIMPLY SWITCHED

TO A DIFFERENT KIND OF PFAs,

SOMETHING CALLED "GEN-X,"

SPINNING THE MANUFACTURE OF IT

OFF INTO A SEPARATE COMPANY,

CHEMOURS.

NOW, DID THEY DO THAT SO THAT

ANY LEGAL LIABILITY WOULDN'T

STICK TO THEM, AND INSTEAD,

SLIDE RIGHT OFF THEM LIKE BUGS

ON A TEFLON TREE?

WHO CAN SAY?

APPARENTLY NOT ME, LEGALLY.

WHAT I CAN SAY IS THAT, WHILE

CHEMOURS CLAIMS GEN-X IS SAFER,

SCIENTISTS STILL HAVE

SIGNIFICANT CONCERNS ABOUT ITS

PRESENCE IN THE WATER SUPPLY.

THIS IS, IN MY VIEW, MORE OF

A RISK THAN WE SHOULD BE FORCED

TO TAKE.

THIS COMPOUND'S A MEMBER OF A

CLASS OF COMPOUNDS THAT ARE ALL

THOUGHT TO BE ABLE TO MAKE

PEOPLE SICK WITH CANCERS OF

VARIOUS KINDS, OTHER KINDS OF

DYSFUNCTION.

WE DON'T KNOW THE FULL EXTENT OF

IT.

SO, WITH WHAT THESE

SCIENTISTS DO KNOW, WE ASK THEM

IF THEY THINK THE WATER IS SAFE

ENOUGH TO DRINK.

NOPE.

I DRINK TEQUILA STRAIGHT, BUT I

WON'T DRINK THE TAP WATER.

WELL, THAT DOESN'T

SOUND GOOD.

IF CASUAL FRIDAY SCIENTIST OVER

HERE WON'T DRINK THE TAP WATER,

THERE MIGHT BE SOME CAUSE FOR

ALARM.

AND WHILE WE'VE JUST FOCUSED ON

A HANDFUL OF INDIVIDUAL PFAs

TONIGHT, THERE ARE HUNDREDS, IF

NOT THOUSANDS, OF THEM.

SO THE PROBLEM IS, IF AND WHEN

GEN-X IS EVENTUALLY FOUND TO BE

HARMFUL, COMPANIES CAN

PRESUMABLY JUST MOVE ON TO

ANOTHER ONE, THEN ANOTHER ONE,

AND SO ON.

AND SO ON.

AND AT THIS POINT, YOU MIGHT BE

THINKING, "HOLY SHIT, THIS IS

ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE.
SHOULD I START IMMEDIATELY

THROWING AWAY ALL MY PANS?"
WELL, I'LL START WITH THE GOOD

MEGHAN McCAIN IS NO
LONGER ON "THE VIEW."

THIS ROCK LOOKS LIKE

COOKIE MONSTER.
AND NO, YOU DON'T NECESSARILY

NEED TO THROW AWAY ALL YOUR
PANS.

EXPERTS SAY THAT IT'S VERY

UNLIKELY PFAs WILL BE RELEASED

IF THE PANS AREN'T OVERHEATED OR

SCRAPED.

NOW, YOU'RE UNDER SLIGHTLY MORE

RISK OF EXPOSURE FROM CLOTHING

THAT CONTAINS PFAs... WHICH IS,

UNFORTUNATELY, MOST STAINPROOF

OR WATERPROOF FABRICS, INCLUDING

CERTAIN ITEMS FROM COMPANIES

LIKE LULULEMON, NORTH FACE, AND

PATAGONIA... OR, INDEED, FROM

FOOD WRAPPERS THAT CONTAIN PFAs,

WHICH ARE, UNFORTUNATELY, USED

BY MULTIPLE CHAINS, INCLUDING

SOME OF THE PACKAGING AT

STARBUCKS, CHICK-FIL-A, AND

SUBWAY.

AND ALL THESE COMPANIES INSIST

THEY'RE WORKING TO REMOVE PFAs

FROM THEIR PRODUCTS COMPLETELY

IN THE COMING MONTHS AND YEARS,

AND I HOPE THAT THAT'S TRUE.

BUT WE HAVE HEARD THINGS LIKE

THAT BEFORE, AND YET, HERE WE

FUCKING ARE.

AND IT'S NOT LIKE IT'S EASY TO

KNOW WHICH PRODUCTS YOU'RE

BUYING DO AND DON'T CONTAIN

PFAs.

IT'S NOT LIKE THEY HAVE TO CARRY

LABELS STATING, "THIS PRODUCT

CONTAINS DEVIL'S PISS," ALTHOUGH

THAT'S ACTUALLY A VERY GOOD

IDEA, AND THEY SHOULD ABSOLUTELY

HAVE TO DO THAT.

BUT THE BIGGER ISSUE IS, NO

MATTER HOW RESPONSIBLE CONSUMERS

CHOOSE TO BE, IF THE FACTORY

THAT MAKES THE CHEMICALS DOESN'T

DISPOSE OF ITS WASTE PROPERLY,

IT'S LIKELY GETTING INTO YOUR

BLOODSTREAM ANYWAY.

WHICH IS PRETTY FRUSTRATING, AS

THE ACTIVIST YOU SAW EARLIER

NO ONE SAID, "HEY, YOU KNOW,

I'M GOOD WITH A LITTLE TEFLON

CHEMICAL IN MY BABY'S BLOOD."

NO ONE SAID THAT.

THEY SAID, "I LOVE THESE PANS."

EXACTLY.

NO ONE LOVES PANS SO MUCH THAT

THEY'D BE WILLING TO PUT POISON

IN THEIR BABY'S BLOOD.

WELL, TO BE HONEST, ONE PERSON

DOES BUT, IN HIS DEFENSE, THE

PANS DON'T FUCKING STICK!

NOW, IF YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT

WHAT THE WATER IS LIKE WHERE YOU

LIVE, YOU CAN GO TO THIS

ADDRESS,

DON'T LIKE WHAT YOU

SEE, YOU CAN CONSIDER SOLUTIONS

LIKE DRINKING BOTTLED WATER, OR

USING A REVERSE OSMOSIS FILTER.

BUT THE TRUTH IS, IT

SHOULDN'T JUST BE ON US

AS INDIVIDUALS.

BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS, PFAs

SHOULDN'T BE IN MOST CONSUMER

PRODUCTS AT ALL.

AND AS COMPANIES SEEM UNLIKELY

TO ALL TAKE THEM OUT

VOLUNTARILY, WE BADLY NEED

LEGISLATION LIMITING THEIR USE

TO ONLY ESSENTIAL ITEMS, LIKE

CERTAIN MEDICAL DEVICES AND

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING.

BUT NOT JUST THAT... WE NEED TO

CHANGE THE WAY WE REGULATE PFAs

COMPLETELY.

INSTEAD OF REGULATING THEM ONE

AT A TIME, AS WE DO NOW, WE

SHOULD DO IT AS AN ENTIRE CLASS

OF CHEMICALS.

THIS WOULD ENABLE THE EPA TO

MORE EFFECTIVELY REGULATE NOT

JUST THE PFAs ALREADY IN USE,

BUT REPLACEMENTS LIKE GEN-X WHEN

THEY'RE INTRODUCED.

AND IN THE MEANTIME, IF

COMPANIES ARE GOING TO KEEP

LEANING IN ON THE CONVENIENCE OF

THEIR PRODUCTS WITHOUT

ACKNOWLEDGING THE COST, MAYBE WE

CAN HELP THEM, BY PROVIDING

THEIR ADS WITH SOME MUCH-NEEDED

CONTEXT.

CHEMISTRY IS THE PRACTICE OF

MAGIC.

LIKE ABRACADABRA, ZONKS,

WIZARDRY.

PEOPLE THINK OF TO HAVE FUN AND

THEY THINK OF FRYING PANS.

BAKE HOT PLATES WITH SMOOTH LONG

STICKS.

TEFLON IS NOT ONE THING, IT'S

DISEASE, SICKNESS, AND ITS

FUKCING EVERYWHERE.

CUT OUT.

YOU KNOW I'M SELF-CONSCIOUS

ABOUT THE MOUTH.

YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT.

DID YOU SAY YES OR NO.

PUTTING

PFA LS ON THE SURFACE... YOU

KNOW I'M SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT

THE MOUTH AND EVERYTHING, THE

CLOSE UP STUFF, AND THE

SPITTING?

YOU SAY IT'S GOING TO BE A

NORMAL SHOOT?

FOCUSING ON...

I PUT PFAs ON A BICYCLE CHAIN.

WHY?

BECAUSE I SUFFER FROM CHRONIC

INSOMNIA.

PROBABLY GOT IT FROM PFAs.

AND THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

THE SAME CHEMICALS THAT ARE IN

ME ARE IN YOU, AND EVEN IN YOUR

CHILD.

I PUT SOMETHING IN YOUR CHILD!

AND IF THIS STUFF GETS INTO

WATER, THAT'S THE REAL

BIPPETY-BOPPETY MAGIC.

IT'S INCREDIBLE!

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD

ABOUT A LEATHER JACKET GIVING

YOU KIDNEY CANCER?

YOU CAN LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN

WILD.

MINE IS RUNNING RIGHT NOW.

IT'S NOT OFTEN YOU GET TO PUT

SOMETHING TOXIC IN THE WORLD.

THAT'S OUR SHOW.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WATCHING.

WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

GOOD NIGHT!

OKAY, OKAY.

CAN I SAY IT WITH A BRITISH

ACCENT?

NO?

YOU KNOW I'M SELF-CONSCIOUS

ABOUT MY LITTLE MOUTH.

YOU SAID THIS WOULD BE A NORMAL

SHOOT.

THAT'S A TERRIBLE BRITISH

ACCENT, BUT I'LL DO IT ANYWAY.

YOU KNOW I'M SELF-CONSCIOUS

ABOUT MY LITTLE MOUTH.

HE SAID THIS WOULD BE...