One of the early storylines about Koch Industries involved its efforts to attack scientific evidence that formaldehyde causes cancer. It was first exposed by Kevin Grandia at DeSmogBlog last fall, and Jane Mayer’s seminal New Yorkerstory explored it as well. In short, while a member of George W. Bush’s National Cancer Advisory Board, David Koch was helping the Formaldehyde Council, a DC lobbying group, to question scientific research that the chemical could be lethal. At the same time, Koch co-owned Georgia Pacific, which uses formaldehyde extensively in its manufacturing operations.
In the reductive, oppositional world of DC politics, it can be easy to forget that real human beings are affected—sometimes disastrously so—by ideology and policy. Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films has just released a heartbreaking mini-documentary that puts a human face on the consequences of Georgia Pacific’s use of formaldehyde at a plant in Crossett, Arkansas. That plant has dumped millions of gallons of waste into the area’s water system, which violates the Clean Water Act—yet they’ve done so for years, while also paying a lot of money to discredit the idea that formaldehyde is bad for people.
But along one road in Crossett, near the Georgia Pacific plant, a disturbing number of residents are now dying of cancer. In fifteen families, eleven people have died of cancer and others are currently sick. A USA Todaystudy says the town’s schools are in the first percentile for exposure to carcinogens.
This week Brave New Films released a short documentary exposing the impact just one Koch Industries operated Georgia Pacific plant in Crossett, Arkansas is having on the local community. The film takes a look at a neighborhood around Penn Road downstream of the facility where an abnormally high number of people have died from cancer. The community believes the source is the waste flooding out of the Georgia Pacific facility down a stream that runs nearby. Please take the time to watch this film, it offers a glimpse into the real impacts of the Koch’s reckless corporation.
“What we’ve been doing with our ‘Koch Brothers Exposed’ project is connecting the dots: explaining the size and scope of what they’re doing, which is really nothing short of trying to buy democracy,” said Greenwald, the president of Brave New Foundation. (Full disclosure: Greenwald is on AlterNet’s board of directors.) ”What we’ve done with each of the Koch pieces is to use specific stories to depict people’s lives and show that ideology has consequences. What the Kochs are doing is not harmless, it is not victimless, and there are people who are paying a terrible price for the brothers’ politics and their profiteering.”
Robert Greenwald, Filmmaker, political activist and founder of Brave New Foundation joins Thom Hartmann on RT America/The Big Picture. Robert says the Koch brothers have been linked to political bribery, funding right wing think tanks, financial ties to foreign businesses and now…cancer!
Thom Hartmann talks with Robert Greenwald, Filmmaker, political activist and founder of Brave New Foundation, about Robert’s latest documentary that exposes a connection between the Koch brothers and a small community dying of cancer.
Brave New Foundation’s Executive Director, Jim Miller, and Founder/Producer of Cuentame, Axel Caballero, took a break during the Take Back the American Dream conference to speak with Free Speech TV. Check out what they have to say on our latest campaigns.