Robert Bilott with Mark Ruffalo - Exposure (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Monday, October 7, 2019 - 12:00pm

Tickets: $31 (includes a copy of Exposure) • Moderated by Tom Barbash

*Tickets available for purchase at the door @ Book Passage in the SF Ferry Building.* 

Silent Spring meets Erin Brockovich in this riveting true story of the lawyer who spent twenty years building a case against DuPont for its use of the hazardous, unregulated chemical PFOA, uncovering a history of environmental contamination that affects virtually every person on the planet, and the cover-up that kept it a secret for decades.

In 1998, Rob Bilott was a young lawyer specializing in helping big corporations stay on the right side of environmental laws and regulations. His life and career took an unexpected turn when he got a phone call from a West Virginia farmer named Earl Tennant, who was convinced his cattle were being poisoned by runoff into a stream from a neighboring DuPont landfill. Earl hadn’t been able to get a water sample tested by any state or federal regulatory agency or find a local lawyer willing to take the case. As soon as they heard the name DuPont—the area’s largest employer—they shut him down.

Agreeing to help Earl, Rob ultimately gains access to hundreds of thousands of pages of DuPont documents that reveal the company has been holding onto decades of studies proving the harmful effects of a chemical called PFOA, used in making Teflon. More toxic than lead, PFOA is often called a “forever chemical,” because once it gets inside the human body, it remains there, building up faster than the body can excrete it. What starts as the case of one farmer soon spawns a class action suit on behalf of seventy thousand residents—and the shocking realization that virtually every person on the planet has been exposed to PFOA and carries the chemical in his or her blood.

Exposure is an unforgettable David and Goliath legal drama about malice and manipulation, the failings of environmental regulation, and one lawyer’s twenty-year struggle to expose the truth about this previously unknown—and still unregulated—chemical that presents one of the greatest environmental and human health crises of the twenty-first century.

Robert Bilott is a partner at the law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP in Cincinnati, Ohio where he has practiced environmental law and litigation for more than twenty-eight years. He has been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America for several years running and has received numerous honors for his work in environmental law and litigation. Rob is a former chair of the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Environmental Law Committee and a graduate of New College in Sarasota, Florida (BA) and the Ohio State University College of Law (JD, cum laude). In 2017, Rob received the international Right Livelihood Award, commonly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” for his years of work on PFOA.

Mark Ruffalo is an Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, BAFTA, and Emmy® nominee who will play Rob Bilott in Participant’s upcoming film, Dark Waters, distributed by Focus Features, about the DuPont pollution scandal that also stars Anne Hathaway, Bill Pullman, and Tim Robbins. He is currently in production on I Know This Much Is True, an eight-episode limited series at HBO based off the best-selling novel of the same name that he is both starring in and producing. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards within five years for his performances in The Kids Are All Right, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight, which followed The Boston Globe’s coverage of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal for which the newspaper won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Ruffalo advocates for addressing climate change and increasing renewable energy. In 2012, Ruffalo helped launch The Solutions Project as part of his mission to share science, business and culture that demonstrates the feasibility of sustainable energy.

Tom Barbash is the author of three books as well as numerous reviews, stories, essays, and articles for publications. His short story collection, Stay Up With Me, was nominated for the Folio Prize, and was picked as a Best Book of the Year by NPR and the San Francisco Chronicle, and was a San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller and a New York Times Editor’s Choice. His novel, The Last Good Chance, was awarded The California Book Award, was a Publishers Weekly and Anniston Star Best Book of the Year, and was short listed for the Great Lakes Book Prize and the Saroyan International Prize. His most recent book is The Dakota Winters.


Please note that tickets are non-refundable. Books will only be signed by the author, Robert Bilott.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111