Iain Barbour first noticed something was wrong when he started choking on a burger. ‘I realised I couldn’t swallow. And I had these chest pains that I thought was a heart attack,’ he recalls. When he went to the doctor in July 2020, he was told it was acid reflux. After weeks with no progress on medication, he was then told it was a fungal infection. In the meantime, he still couldn’t swallow, was living on liquid meals and had lost four stone. It was only in September, after a follow-up appointment, he was contacted by doctors who thought it might be something worse. One rushed endoscope later, and he had a diagnosis.
Four months have passed since the publication of Guidance on PFAS Testing and Health Outcomes, a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, (National Academies). The National Academies are the premier American institutions created by President Lincoln in 1863 to investigate issues in science for the U.S. government. The National Academies recommends blood tests and medical monitoring for people likely to have high exposure to the toxic chemicals known as per-and poly fluoroalkyl substances, (PFAS). The National Academies specifically addresses the urgent need to reach those who are exposed through occupational routes, particularly firefighters.
Wearing protective clothing, firefighters set themselves ablaze in the streets, performing perhaps the safest self-immolation protest in world history. Yet few outside France saw the action; protestors took to social media to decry the mainstream disinterest in the growing movement, the largest and most sustained protests in the country since May 1968. Many asserted that if repression on this scale were happening in Venezuela or Iran, it would be the number one story in North America and across the globe. Yet a Wednesday morning search on the homepages of the New York Times, Google News and Yahoo! News found that there were zero links to coverage of the previous day’s events.