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'Dark Waters': Hollywood's warning to Europe as Mark Ruffalo showcases new film

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By Darren McCaffrey and Joanna Gill
'Dark Waters': Hollywood's warning to Europe as Mark Ruffalo showcases new film
Copyright  يورونيوز

In a packed out room in the European Parliament, Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo, showcased his latest film, which depicts a murky real-life thriller. 

Dark Waters tells the story of an American lawyer, who takes on one of the world's biggest chemical companies convinced they are knowingly polluting the local drinking water. 

Ruffalo was in Brussels to tell MEPs he fears that the same could be happening in Europe.

"I know the response people have to this movie," Ruffalo addressed MEPs, "and the first thing they say is what can I do, how do I change this, what do we do, I didn’t know anything about this?"

Campaigners fear thousands of chemicals known as PFAs, which are found in everyday items from clothes to kitchenware might be harming our health. It's a concern shared by the lawyer, Richard Biliot which the film is based on.

"Chemicals are being found in drinking all over the globe and in the blood all over the globe, so this is really one of the places on earth where you’ve got folks that understand the nature of this problem, understand the scope of it and are actually taking action to try and address these chemicals in a comprehensive way," Biliot explains.

It is an issue the European Environment Bureau, are hoping to get pushed up the agenda in Europe.

"Well it’s started to become a political issue now, more and more evidence is put there that these group of chemicals can have have serious health affects. Already we can see the cost of health consequences in Europe only are estimated at tens of billions of euros every year, that’s a lot of money and I think it’s getting more and more attention now, maybe thanks to this film, that people start realising we need to do something now," says Johanna Sandahl, President EEB.

The European Commission's website on PFAs states:

"With more than 4 700 known PFAS, undertaking substance-by-substance risk assessments and comprehensive environmental monitoring to understand exposure would be an extremely lengthy and resource-intensive process. As a result, complementary and precautionary approaches to managing PFAS are being explored"

At present a country-by-country approach is being taken in relation to these chemicals.

"I think we have to address the crisis, chemicals are all around us, the different substances and of course we have to do good work by first of all implementing our legal acts, secondly in registration, checking new chemicals and I think then we will have protected our citizens to the maximum," explains Environment Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius.

For years, the threat from chemicals has not been a political priority. Environmental activists and Mark Ruffalo are hoping their film might be about to change that.

Dark Waters