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‘Dark Waters’ attorney talks forever chemicals at Speed Art Museum

The film “Dark Waters” traces the decades-long battle that attorney Rob Bilott waged against the chemical company DuPont for contaminating a community in West Virginia with forever chemicals. 

People can see the film for free on Sunday at the Speed Art Museum and meet with the man who inspired it. Bilott, a Kentucky resident, is the special guest at the Sunday Showcase and will appear in a panel discussion following the screening. 

Forever chemicals, also known as PFAS, are used in everyday products ranging from cosmetics, to printer inks, to cookware and fire-fighting foam. Ingesting them increases the risk of some cancers and can contribute to a host of health issues including high cholesterol, developmental and birth defects and reduced vaccine efficacy. 

They’ve been found in all major watersheds in Kentucky and in some fish populations. At least 38 drinking water systems in Kentucky, including Louisville, have detected levels of forever chemicals the EPA now considers to have adverse health impacts.

The free event begins with a book signing Sunday at 2 p.m. from Bilott, who authored “Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyers’ Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont.”

Following a screening of the film, the author will join a panel of experts including filmmaker Elijah Yetter-Bowman, environmental educator Sammy Bauer, University of Louisville Assistant Professor Jamie Lynn Young, forever chemicals awareness organizer Teena Halbig, and moderator and Democratic Rep. Nima Kulkarni of Louisville. 

Ryan Van Velzer is the Kentucky Public Radio Managing Editor. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.

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