[1] After the independent scientific panel jointly selected by the parties (but required under the settlement to be paid for by DuPont) found that there was a probable link between drinking PFOA and kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, pre-eclampsia, and ulcerative colitis, Bilott began opening individual personal-injury lawsuits against DuPont on behalf of affected users of the Ohio and West Virginia water supplies, which by 2015 numbered over 3,500. PFOA is a toxin ​that has been found to have a probable link to certain types of cancers and diseases. It was more than two decades ago that Bilott first began investigating reports of wide-ranging serious illness — various cancers, birth defects, rapid tooth decay and more — … As is the case with PFOA, studies link PFAS exposure to a range of human health problems, including a suppression of the human immune system, liver dysfunction, and adverse birth outcomes. But it does get your attention. Bilott achieved a class-action settlement with DuPont in 2004, part of which paid for a six-year health study. He then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and urban studies from the New College of Florida. Bilott’s battle against DuPont, documented in a memoir, has been made into the feature film Dark Waters, released to theaters across the country this month. “If [affected] communities had been forced to sit back and wait for action they’d still be exposed every day. DuPont’s own lawyers and scientists raised concerns about the local community’s exposure to PFOA, Bilott told me. She is a Guardian US columnist, ‘We notified the EPA 18 years ago that PFOA in drinking water presented a public health threat, and in 2019 there are. They would have no relief whatsoever.”. [1] Bilott's father served in the United States Air Force, and Bilott spent his childhood on several air force bases. "She was working directly with the chemical while she was pregnant with me," Bailey said of his mother. Last year United Nations experts called for the phasing out of certain PFAS. In the process, Bilott said he uncovered decades worth of evidence that the chemical giant was aware that the PFOAs in Teflon and other products were toxic. Bilott's story also became the basis for Dark Waters, a 2019 film starring Mark Ruffalo as Bilott, and Anne Hathaway as Bilott's wife, Sarah Barlage. ", In a statement to ABC News, DuPont said: "Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees and the communities in which we operate… This movie misrepresents things that happened years ago, including our history, our values and science. ", (MORE: Mark Ruffalo says new film is about 'one of the greatest cover-ups' in history), (MORE: Potentially harmful chemical found in drinking water for 7.5 million people: Report), (MORE: Navy researchers hopeful new firefighting foams will reduce health risks), (MORE: FDA tests highlight rising concerns about potentially harmful chemicals in food). Bilott is taking an unusual approach in the new litigation, which is pending in a federal court in Ohio. His two decades of work negotiated water filtration and treatment for affected communities, the establishment of a novel scientific panel for human health studies, and the introduction of a medical monitoring program for thousands of people exposed. And now, Robert Bilott's story is the focus of the film Dark Waters, in theaters on November 22. In December 2011, the scientists finally started to … “We all know about Flint, Michigan – one chemical, in one water supply. [7] This new litigation is ongoing as of May 2020[update].[8]. ", "The doctors, they were just completely scared," Bailey said of ​the day his mother gave birth to him. It transcends politics.". Powerful corporations are fighting to protect the use of these profitable chemical compounds, Bilott says, and US regulators are doing next to nothing to stop them. "It was rather disturbing, frankly," Bilott said. ​The harmful effects of PFOA and its impact on the community in Parkersburg, West Virginia, may have never come to light if it wasn't for one attorney who decided to take the chemical company head-on in a 20-year legal battle. Named by Best Lawyers in America. In the film, Ruffalo plays Robert Bilott, a real-life corporate lawyer who switched sides to file repeated lawsuits against DuPont, accusing the company of causing devastation to the surrounding community. The companies have denied liability and sought unsuccessfully to have the complaint dismissed. Bilott has spent more than twenty years litigating hazardous dumping of the chemicals perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). After Bilott threated to sue ATSDR for failing to look at PFAS exposures, the agency said it would start collecting data from at least eight sites around the United States. ", "I know I believe in activism and I've taken part in a lot of it. Bailey said he was born with just one nostril as well as a "serrated eyelid" on the right eye. The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, which has included DuPont executives among its leadership team in recent years, claims, in a website created specifically to discredit Dark Waters, that “activists” are “cherry-picking” information in an effort to “deceive the public, threaten our jobs, and destroy our way of life”. Robert Bilott (born August 2, 1965) is an American environmental attorney from Cincinnati, Ohio.Bilott is known for the lawsuits against DuPont on behalf of plaintiffs from West Virginia. Knowing that DuPont had polluted the groundwater and potentially exposed thousands of people to a dangerous chemical, Bilott sued the chemical company repeatedly to uncover the truth. 2017 Right Livelihood Award. Secret Service asked about protecting soon-to-be-former president in Florida: Sources, Mysterious shiny monolith found in otherworldly Utah desert, 2 detained for speaking Spanish settle border patrol lawsuit, Trump threatens more lawsuits, but court challenges are hitting dead ends, Biden formally introduces national security and foreign policy team.