Robert Bilott – Exposure

Silent Spring meets Erin Brockovich in this eye-opening, riveting true story of the lawyer who spent two decades building a case against DuPont for its use of the hazardous, unregulated chemical PFOA, uncovering a history of environmental contamination that affects virtually every person on the planet, and the heartless behavior that kept it a secret for 60 years.

The story that inspired the forthcoming major motion picture from Participant Media/Focus Features starring Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway, directed by Todd Haynes.

1998: Rob Bilott is a young lawyer specializing in helping big corporations stay on the right side of environmental laws and regulations. His life and career take an unexpected turn when he gets a phone call from a West Virginia farmer named Earl Tennant. Earl is convinced the creek on his property is being poisoned by runoff from a neighboring DuPont landfill. His cattle are dying in hideous ways, as is much of the surrounding wildlife. Earl hasnt even been able to get a water sample tested by any state or federal regulatory agency or find a local lawyer willing to take the case. As soon as they hear the name DuPont – the areas largest employer – they shut him down.

Once Rob sees the thick, foamy water that bubbles into the creek, the gruesome effects it seems to have on livestock, and the disturbing frequency of cancer and other health problems in the surrounding area, hes persuaded to fight against the type of corporation his firm routinely represents. After intense legal wrangling, Rob ultimately gains access to hundreds of thousands of pages of DuPont documents, some of them fifty years old, that reveal the company has been holding onto decades of studies proving the harmful effects of a chemical called PFOA, used in making Teflon. PFOA is often called a forever chemical, because once inside the body, it remains there for a long period of time, building up faster than the body can excrete it, and once in the environment, it does not break down or degrade for millions of years, contaminating the planet forever. Although aware of these properties, DuPont kept its scientific findings from the public while at the same time dumping hundreds of thousands of pounds of PFOA waste into the Ohio River and landfills. The case of one farmer soon spawns a class action suit on behalf of seventy thousand residentsand the shocking realization that virtually every person on the planet has been exposed to PFOA and carries the chemical in his or her blood.

What emerges is an unforgettable, David and Goliath-style legal drama about malice and manipulation, the failings of environmental regulation; and one lawyers 20-year struggle to expose the truth about this previously unknown – and still unregulated – chemical that we all have inside us.

Author: Robert Bilott
Narrator: Jeremy Bobb, Mark Ruffalo – Introduction
Duration: 14 hours 51 minutes
Released: 19 Aug 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Language: English

User Review:

inn degenerate

In the past few years, lawyers have written very well telling stories of their lives. Kamala Harris, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, J.D. Hillbilly Elegy Vance are examples. Other lawyers have written wonderful books of their experiences with specific issues such as Madeline Albright, Andrew McCabe, James Comey, Bryan Just Mercy Stevenson and Doug Jones et. al. for Building Towards Justice. So, the bar has been set pretty high, and unfortunately Robert Bilott doesnt meet the standard. His writing style is often disconnected ranging from personal feelings, excessive work, his connection with lawyers and litigants and his astounding efforts as a plaintiff lawyer trying to bring Dupont to justice for knowingly poisoning virtually everyone with PFOA and PFOS chemicals causing thousands to suffer from everything from kidney disease to cancer.
It is a wonderful story told by a lawyer who dedicated decades of his life to ultimately successfully bringing the 35th largest company in America to some significant legal financial responsibility. While there are times when one doesnt quite understand the complexity of the litigation, he tries to bring it to us with a fundamental understanding of an extremely complex legal, scientific and ultimately moral story. So, the minor quibbles about style or even his fairly humorless writing pales when one learns of the myriad pressures and stonewalling that Mr. Bilott endured at the hands of Dupont and their attorneys. I disagree with the New York Times that this story is skillfully told, but that shouldnt detract from everyone learning this truly American tale of money and legal camouflage versus a dedicated, unbelievably hard-working lawyer seeking justice for the many victims of Duponts duplicity. It is a story that continues after the book ends, so more is yet to come. Hopefully for us, Attorney Bilott will see it through.