HBO satirist John Oliver highlights Michigan PFAS pollution victims
Watching Danny DeVito cackle “I put something in your child!” while mocking a DuPont scientist is a little disturbing, but that’s probably the point of having DeVito deliver the denouement of a new TV segment about PFAS contamination on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
The British comedian, whose popular late-night news satire show airs Sundays on HBO, took aim at corporate polluters in a 20-minute Oct. 3 segment, which included clips of two households near Grand Rapids who have been contaminated by shoemaker Wolverine World Wide of Rockford.
Oliver’s show focused heavily on chemical manufacturers DuPont and 3M, explaining the troubled history of corporate knowledge about health harms caused by PFAS exposure that were hid for years, as well as lax federal oversight that’s allowed the problem to fester and spread.
Seth and Tobyn McNaughton of Belmont, whose son, Jack, has tested positive for extremely high PFAS levels — 484,000 parts-per-trillion — in his blood serum, were held up as an example of the many people unknowingly exposed to the chemicals in drinking water.