After examining decades of once-secret files, researchers find that DuPont and 3M waited at least 20 years before disclosing dangers of PFAS. Credit: AP

He was born with only one nostril, and a keyhole-shaped pupil in his right eye covered by a deformed lid. His condition was so grave that physicians warned his mother that he might not survive more than a few hours after his birth.

He survived, and his early childhood was marked by dozens of surgeries to address the birth defects that his mother, a worker at a DuPont plant in West Virginia, initially struggled to explain.

But still—years after evidence began to emerge that the chemical manufacturer engaged in a cover-up about the dangers of so-called “forever chemicals”—Bucky Bailey, now 42, wondered if the ailments that he and so many other people suffered might have all just been a catastrophic, but unmalicious mistake. Then he began reviewing decades of DuPont’s own confidential files, which were made public through a raft of court proceedings over the past 20 years.

“That was the clinching point for me,” […]

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