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January 13, 2014West Viriginia Chemical Spill


West Viriginia Chemical Spill

West Virginia Chemical Spill Underscores Government Neglect

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over three years since we released TOXIC SOUP in 2010. I wish I could say that it is harder to believe what happened last week in Elk River, West Virginia, but I can’t. In case you missed the news, CNN reports that last Thursday:

7,500 gallons of a chemical used to clean coal — 4-methylcyclohexane methanol — had leaked out of a storage tank a mile upriver from the West Virginia American Water plant.

Since the environmental disaster, residents were forbidden to use tap water for anything but flushing toilets! They couldn’t drink it. They couldn’t bathe with it. They couldn’t cook with it. They couldn’t even brush their teeth with it!

Water is our most precious resource. Once our water supply shot, the human race is shot. If our federal and state governments can’t protect our domestic water supply, what good is our military mite?!

The reason that this story is not getting more coverage is because it happened in West Virginia and no one cares about West Virginia. It is sad to say, but it is the truth. If this spill had happened in New York or California, the general public would be furious.

And the reason why the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is such a sick joke is because it is led by folks from the chemical and coal industries.

For example, you may remember the Stephanie Timmermeyer story. Stephanie at one point worked for a law firm that represented DuPont before she went to work as the Secretary of the West Virginia DEP where she was involved with covering up the C8 / PFOA contamintation by DuPont in Parkersburg, West Virginia, a story that we investigated in TOXIC SOUP.

In 2005, the Charleston Gazette reported:

In early March 2002, state environmental regulators planned to warn Wood County residents that the toxic chemical C8 was spreading across the area through air emissions from DuPont Co.’s Parkersburg plant. … But the public never got that news. The DEP killed its release after complaints from a DuPont lawyer, according to records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Suffice to say, I will be expecting a similar Stephanie Timmermeyer to come to light during the investigation of this latest environmental disaster. In the meantime my thoughts and prayers are with the state of West Virginia!

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October 4, 2012R.I.P. Larry Gibson


Tragic news about MTR activist Larry Gibson passing. Larry was the subject of our short documentary “Mountain Man.”  100% of all proceeds generated from “Mountain Man” go to Larry’s Keeper of the Mountains Foundation. Below is the obituary from the Washington Post.


Larry Gibson, an unlikely activist who fought West Virginia’s powerful coal interests to preserve a mountain that had been his family’s home for generations, died Sept. 9 at a hospital in Charleston, W.Va. He had a heart attack while working at his family’s property on Kayford Mountain in Raleigh County, W.Va., his daughter, Victoria Gibson, said. He was 66.

Mr. Gibson was best known for his tireless and often courageous opposition to a mining practice called mountaintop removal. After being away from West Virginia for many years, he returned to Kayford Mountain in 1986 and discovered a landscape that was beginning to change beyond recognition.

Where there had once been verdant mountain ridges, Mr. Gibson now saw desolate ­stretches of land where mining companies had dynamited the mountaintops to expose seams of coal within. Trees and rocks had been bulldozed into valleys and streams below.

“Growing up here was an adventure every day,” he said in an online video made for Earth­justice, a nonprofit legal organization formerly known as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund. “I played with my pet bobcat, my fox, my hawk.”

By the 1990s, his family’s 54 acres were the only patch of green remaining near Kayford Mountain.

“Just a stone’s throw away, on that mountaintop removal mining site,” he said, “you couldn’t find anything alive if you wanted to. It’s bare rock, uninhabitable.”

Mr. Gibson’s father and grandfather had been coal miners, and he often said that he had no objections to mining that left the mountains intact. What made him angry was to see the wholesale defacement of the landscape, wildlife and the mountain culture for which West Virginia is known.

“God created these mountains,” he told The Washington Post in 1998. “Only God should be able to take them away.”

Mr. Gibson stood only 5-feet-2, but he often stood up against his state’s most powerful private interests in his effort to stop mountaintop removal or, as the mining companies sometimes call it, peak reduction.

It was not a popular stance to take in West Virginia.

He was often arrested — including once at the governor’s office — and was continually under surveillance by private security teams in pickup trucks. He was forced off mountain roads and sometimes found bullet holes in his property.

“I’d like to get along with the coal companies,” Mr. Gibson told the Charleston Gazette in 1997. “But I don’t have to just sit back and let them do whatever they want.”

He established the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, testified before the United Nations and spoke about mountaintop removal at colleges throughout the country, including Virginia Tech and Yale.

He showed up at shareholders’ meetings of large banks, protesting their investment in companies that practiced mountaintop removal. In 1999, he walked 500 miles across West Virginia to promote his cause. Six years later, Mr. Gibson led a march to the front door of the Richmond headquarters of Massey Energy — the same company that owned the Upper Big Branch Mine, in which 29 miners were killed in 2010.

Read the rest of the Washington Post obituary here.

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September 21, 2012Petition to Protect New Jersey Families from DuPont Chemical Contamination


From 1902 to 1994, the DuPont Chemical company dumped chemicals into New Jersey’s Pompton Lakes. While the company abandoned the explosives site years ago, it has yet to clean up the mess it left behind. The closed work site is still owned by DuPont.

For decades, families like mine have been suffering from thetoxic pollution left in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey by DuPont Chemical. Hundreds of families suffer frompoisonous gases in the soil that migrate up into our basements. The air we breathe inside our homes is filled withcancer-causing TCE, and the full extent of all this pollution in our community is still not fully understood.

DuPont Chemical, the company responsible for this pollution, has had years to clean up their mess–but they have failed. It’s time the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) declare Pompton Lakes a Superfund site and take over the clean-up once and for all.

Two years ago, the New Jersey Department of Human Health and Senior Services released a shocking report with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. It found a “significantly elevated” cancer rate in the region potentially linked to contamination from the Pompton Lakes DuPont explosives site. DuPont Chemical has proposed a five-year cleanup plan–but that plan will not make our community safe.

DuPont’s plan does not address the high levels of mercury, lead, and other toxic chemicals that they left in our creeks and lakes.

It’s clear that DuPont doesn’t care about the Pompton Lakes community, so it’s up to the USEPA to take a stand and protect our health. The USEPA must list this site on the federal Superfund National Priorities list. Cleanup cannot be left in the hands of DuPont Chemical.


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August 22, 2012We’re on HULU


TOXIC SOUP is finally on HULU. TOXIC SOUP has been broadcast both nationally and internationally on Free Speech TV, Explora TV, PRESS TV, and USHUAIA TV. Now you can watch it from the comfort of your computer!

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May 11, 2012International TV Premiere


International TV Premiere

Toxic Soup made its international TV premiere earlier this week. “Coctail Toxique” (French title) premiered on Explora TV in Quebec on Saturday, May 5th at 8:30pm and was repeated Sunday, May 6th at 1:30pm, Tuesday May 8th at 9am and will be on tomorrow Friday, May 11th at 3pm. Next Toxic Soup or “Cocktail Toxique” is headed across the Atlantic to France where it is set to broadcast on Ushuaia TV.

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April 24, 2012C8 Science Panel links C8 to testicular, kidney cancer


Important Toxic Soup update. The C8 (PFOA) water contamination case that was brought to light by concerned citizen Joe Kiger and was covered in Toxic Soup is making headlines again. The C8 Science Panel has linked C8 to testicular and kidney cancer. Below journalist Callie Lyons, who also features in Toxic Soup, explains the finding in her own words:

An independent panel of three epidemiologists have concluded that exposure to the manufacturing substance known as C8 or PFOA is linked to two types of cancer in Mid Ohio Valley residents.

The C8 Science Panel released their new findings on Monday morning. It‘s the latest development in the class action lawsuit brought by local residents against DuPont over the presence of the manufacturing chemical PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, in their drinking water. As a result of the findings, a medical panel has been established to determine what type of medical monitoring is appropriate for class members.

The class action lawsuit involved residents who lived in areas served by six public water supplies including Belpre, Pomeroy, Tuppers Plains, Little Hocking, Mason County, Ohio and Lubeck, West Virginia. However, since that time, C8 has reportedly been found along every mile of the Ohio River.

What began as the C8 Health Project has become the largest study ever undertaken to determine the link between PFOA exposure and cancer. An analysis of 21 types of cancer yielded two probable link findings.

The Science Panel, Dr. Kyle Steenland, Dr. Tony Fletcher, and Dr. David Savitz, mapped the areas of analysis to reveal a trend across exposure groups. Fletcher said the groups with the highest exposure exhibited the highest risk of testicular and kidney cancer.

“The trend of increase is quite strong,” explained Steenland, who described the trend as “unlikely due to chance or bias”.

A similar trend was observed with prostate cancer, but fewer cases of the disease were involved in the study.

Fletcher said the newly released information is supported by earlier findings of studies performed on workers and effects observed in lab animals.

Through the review of medical records and the state cancer registry, the panel validated 2,420 diagnoses of primary cancer. Based on past emissions from DuPont and the residential history of study subjects, the panel estimated the levels of C8 in the blood of study subjects over time. They found a “reasonably consistent and strong relationship” between past exposure and testicular and kidney cancer — both considered rare diseases. Science panel data included 19 confirmed cases of testicular cancer and 113 confirmed cases of kidney cancer.

Steenland warned that there are “limitations that should be recognized”. For instance, participants displayed only a few cases of certain cancers like pancreatic and liver cancers, so there may have been inadequate data for a probable link finding. However, in the case of breast cancer, Steenland said there was plenty of information to draw a conclusion, but no link was found.

Other findings released Monday revealed no probable link between the onset of adult diabetes and C8 exposure.

Last December, the Science Panel announced their first probable link finding – tying pregnancy-induced hypertension to C8 exposure.

The C8 Science Panel will complete their work and release the remainder of their findings by the end of July. However, it seems likely that scientific research related to the data will continue.

“We believe this population should be followed over time,” Steenland said.

According to class counsel Harry Deitzler, class members who already suffer from linked diseases are now permitted to pursue personal injury or wrongful death claims against DuPont related to those specific diseases. 

“We are pleased that the community now has some definitive answers to their concerns about whether they have been put at risk for serious adverse health effects because of their exposure to PFOA in their drinking water,” said Rob Bilott, class counsel.


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March 9, 2012


Just wanted to express our condolences here at Man Bites Dog Films to all the recent tornado victims especially those in Eastern Kentucky. As you may or may not know, MBD Film’s own Wade Smith maintains an office in Paintsville, KY and has family in the area. Fortunately, Wade and his family are fine.
However, many were not so lucky. The town of West Liberty, KY was virtually destroyed. I personally spent time in West Liberty when shooting our documentary Toxic Soup. We are sorry for your losses and hope that you and your families are safe.

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March 8, 2012Toxic Soup Goes to New Orleans


Friday March 2nd Toxic Soup screened as part of the 17th annual Tulane Environmental Law Summit in New Orleans, LA. The screening went well and director Rory Owen Delaney fielded a bunch of great questions from the audience, sold some DVDs and gave away posters. As an added bonus environmental attorney Kevin Thompson, who features in two of the cases presented in Toxic Soup, participated in the Q+A as well.

The next day Kevin Thompson participated in a panel on THE MASSEY COAL LITIGATION: COAL SLURRY CONTAMINATION IN RAWL, WV. This is case involving the preacher Larry Brown for those of you have seen Toxic Soup. For those of you who haven’t seen the doc yet it is slated to be live on HULU with the next two weeks. Or you can stream it right now through Distrify; DVDs are also available on amazon.com as well as directly on the website.

You may remember that he Upper Big Branch mine disaster claimed the lives of 29 miners and, in the end, humbled Massey Energy and its controversial CEO Don Blankenship. Daring to confront the company known in the coalfields for its “no-holds-barred” litigation tactics, Kevin Thompson and several other attorneys sued Massey for contaminating the well water of 700+ residents of a rural West Virginia community with billions of gallons of improperly disposed toxic coal slurry. After 7 years of litigation, the case was settled days before trial last summer, but only after a judge was recused and the case assigned by the WV Supreme Court to a Mass Litigation Panel.

Kevin Thompson, Plaintiff’s Attorney in Rawl case; Dr. Stephen King, Toxicologist, Manager of Toxicology, Inc.; Stephen Wussow, Senior Research Analyst, Thompson, Barney Law






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February 23, 20123 New Screenings Announced


Three new Toxic Soup screenings to announce. On Tuesday, February 28th at 6 pm Toxic Soup will be screening in Los Angeles at Cal State LA. The event is hosted by the Students United for Sustainability and will feature a Q + A with director Rory Owen Delaney.

On Friday, March 2nd at 7 pm Toxic Soup will be screening in New Orleans at Tulane University as part of Tulane’s 17th annual environmental summit. Director Rory Owen Delaney will be on hand for a Q + A after the screening.

On Monday, April 2nd, Toxic Soup will be screening in Chicago at Northeastern Illinois University. The screening will be hosted by the college radio station WZRD. Unfortunately, director Rory Owen Delaney will not be able to attend but he will do a radio interview before the screening. More details on the interview later.

The Northeastern Illinois University screening is FREE and open to the public, but seating capacity is only for 70 people so please come early! Toxic Soup will be screening in room SU003 in the NEIU CAFE. Northeastern Illinois University is located at 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.


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February 21, 2012Pollution Photos


Pollution Photos

These photos of pollution were captured during the production of “Toxic Soup”.  The film explores the causes of pollution and documents pollution practices from fortune 500 companies like: DuPont, Bayer, Ashland Oil and Massey Energy.

Included in the photos below: toxic waste is released into a body of water along the Ohio River in Marietta, Ohio; Larry Gibson reveals the destruction caused by Mountaintop Removal mining atop Kayford Mountain, the land that has been in his family for over 100 years.

The residents of Redbush, Kentucky display “Mr. Pickles”, a mutated cat with six legs, two heads and two tails, in a bottle container that is kept hidden in the community where the water is contaminated.

Environmental attorney Kevin Thompson discovers radioactive oil that has been planted in the ground by Ashland Oil as a part of a “clean-up “operation.

Environmental safety officer, Wade Smith, inspects the radioactive oil fields in Eastern, Kentucky where the levels of radiation are 100 times above standard levels due to the negligence of oil production companies in the area.

Spewing Pipes

Pipes spewing toxic waste into a body of water along the Ohio River

Mountain Top Removal

Mountain Top Removal view from Kayford Mountain

six legged cat

Mr. Pickles, the mutated cat with six legs, two heads and two tails

Environmental Attorney Kevin Thompson

Environmental Attorney Kevin Thompson discovers radioactive oil in Redbush Kentucky

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material

Environmental Safety Officer Wade Smith inspects radioactive oil sites in Eastern Kentucky

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