B1 Intermediate US 33 Folder Collection
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Right now we're all on edge because of the coronavirus.
And yes, it is scary,
but, you know, what helps me sleep at night
is remembering that there are a million other things
that could kill me first.
Yeah, there's car accidents or fires
or that suicide pact I made with my best friend in high school
if we weren't married by now.
But luckily,
luckily, the U.S. government recently took action
to cross one potential killer off the list.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
is targeting PFAS chemicals in its new proposal
for a national drinking water standard.
NEWSMAN: PFAS are toxic chemicals
linked to serious diseases like, oh, cancer,
liver damage and thyroid disease.
And guess what? They never, ever, ever degrade.
In fact, they're known as forever chemicals.
NEWSWOMAN: They're so prevalent, CDC scientists believe
PFAS chemicals are in the bloodstreams
of nearly all Americans.
Yeah. Apparently, there's a group of chemicals
called PFAS
that are in all of our blood,
and it might cause cancer.
And because they're impossible to break down,
they're known as forever chemicals,
which sounds really dangerous
but also kind of romantic, you know?
Yeah, it does.
It sounds like something from an old-school R&B song.
You know, it's just like, "Girl,
"I want to be your forever chemical.
There's nothing toxic about our love."
But what are these forever chemicals,
and how do they get into us?
'Cause if it's not sexually transmitted,
I don't know how I got it.
Well, let's find out in another installment
of "If You Don't Know, Now You Know."
-♪ ♪ -(cheering and applause)
Now, forever chemicals might be with us until the end of time,
but they were only engineered by scientists
about 80 years ago, and for a while,
it seemed like they would only change the world for the better.
NEWSWOMAN: PFAS chemicals were first discovered in 1938
accidentally by scientists.
They were used a few years later in the Manhattan Project.
NEWSWOMAN 2: What make PFAS so useful in manufacturing
is how the chemicals fit together.
The fluorine atoms just so happen to fit perfectly
around the carbon atoms to create a bond
that resists things like heat, oil and water.
NEWSWOMAN 3: It's in most products
that are water, heat and grease resistant.
They're used to repel water, grease and oil
in all sorts of things,
from carpets to clothing to nonstick cookware.
That's right. Forever chemicals are used
to keep things like food, oil, and moisture
from sticking to surfaces,
which-- you can't deny-- is really useful.
I mean, like, I don't want to get cancer,
but, at the same time, have you ever tried scraping eggs
off a non-- like-like, a sticky pan?
Have you tried that? It's a nightmare.
Like, there have definitely been times
when I was just like, "Ugh, I'd rather be dead!"
And this technology, this technology
was discovered by scientists entirely by accident,
which always amazes me that they can do this.
Like, scientists are always making one thing
but then they discover something totally different.
You know? I mean, like, I've done the same thing in my life.
Like, one time, I was trying to create dinner for my girlfriend,
but, instead, I discovered that she didn't love me.
I-I guess, in a way, me and Stacy were also nonstick.
But the point is, the point is,
these forever chemicals have tons of uses.
Uh, they were even used in the Manhattan Project
to help build the first atomic bomb,
which means, at some point in the 1940s,
a general was like, "Did you discover a way
to defeat the Germans?" And the scientists were like,
"Uh, we're-we're still working on it.
"Uh, but-but before I get to that,
has this ever happened to you?"
Now, forever chemicals would be incredible
if they remained in all those products
like they were supposed to.
Unfortunately, they just can't seem to stay put.
So, once they're made, they just accumulate in the environment.
They end up in our water supply,
they end up in our food, and they end up in us.
REPORTER: The environmental watchdog group found
forever chemicals, or PFASs,
in drinking water in some 31 states.
REPORTER 2: You'll find them in the lining
of typical takeout containers and pizza boxes.
REPORTER 3: The toxins in the packaging
can transfer into food.
REPORTER 4: The Food and Drug Administration just found
substantial levels in some grocery store meats
and seafood. And they found even higher levels
in chocolate cake that can be bought off the shelf.
Chocolate cake takes no prisoners.
If it doesn't get you with the diabetes,
it's got a backup plan to take you down with secret chemicals.
Yeah. It's like if Walter White teamed up with Betty Crocker.
And why does this always happen with food we love? Huh?
It's always the food we love that's coming to kill us.
You never hear the news say, "This just in--
fermented horse meat is bad for you."
It's always like, "Do you enjoy chocolate cake and water?
Well, you dead now."
Because chocolate cake would have been bad enough,
but forever chemicals are also in our water.
Our water, people.
That means it's in the sink.
It's in the shower.
Which means it's seen me naked,
so it could give me cancer and blackmail me.
I swear to God, forever chemicals,
you tell anyone about that thing hanging off my back
and I'll kill you!
So, anyway, thanks to forever chemicals,
everything from your food to your drinking water
is contaminated. And, yes, the EPA
is finally starting to take action now.
But people have been raising concerns
about these forever chemicals for decades.
And for decades, companies like DuPont
were brushing off those concerns
like they were food on a Teflon pan.
BRIAN ROSS: Even DuPont says it cannot rule out
that Teflon-connected products
such as its Stainmaster carpet treatment
give off the chemical.
Uma Chowdhry, a vice president of research,
is the DuPont executive chosen to publicly defend Teflon.
She says Teflon is completely safe,
even if the key chemical is in everyone's blood.
-Everyone has it. -Everyone has it.
-It's in my blood? Your blood? -Possibly.
We do not believe there are any adverse health effects.
Is that a good thing, to have it in your blood?
There are lots of chemicals that are present in our blood.
"There are lots of chemicals in our blood"?
Yeah, but, right now, we're talking about the chemicals
your company put there.
What kind of defense is this?
Can you imagine if you caught someone breaking into your home
and you're like, "Hey, what are you doing here?!"
They're like, "Uh, there are many people in houses right now.
I mean, who's that guy?"
You're like, "That's my husband."
"My point exactly."
So, at this point, at this point,
no matter what the government does to fight forever chemicals,
there's a good chance a lot of the damage is already done.
If you've got blood, these forever chemicals are in it.
So all companies like DuPont can do now
is just put their best spin on things, which isn't easy.
I won't lie, if I ran DuPont,
I would-- I would try, I'd try and, like,
figure out a way to make it look good.
I wouldn't hide the fact that they may have poisoned
almost every human on the face of the planet.
No, I-I would make ads to own it with pride.
ANNOUNCER: What do banks, real estate,
and the Oscars have in common?
But at DuPont, we're all about inclusivity.
That's right. No matter who you are or where you're from,
DuPont will poison you.
(Southern accent): I grew up in Texas,
and I've got DuPont chemicals in my blood.
(African accent): Look at me.
I am from Uganda, and I am poisoned.
Because of all these chemicals in my blood,
the doctors say I've got cancer.
-And so does my husband. -(chuckles)
DuPont. Forever chemicals.
For everyone.
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If You Don't Know, Now You Know: Toxic PFAS Chemicals | The Daily Show

33 Folder Collection
Chun-Hsiang Hsu published on March 9, 2020
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