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‘Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink’

MS Magazine - May 10, 2021


Sara Ganim calls her movie: No Defense. Focused on Oscoda, Michigan, a small town near a now-closed Air Force base, the poisoning isn’t from lead or the chromium-6 of Hinkley. It’s more PFAS (per- and poly-fluoro-alkyl substances)—the same stuff that sickened and dirtied Dark Water. The U.S. Dept. of Defense (DoD) is the biggest, most dangerous culprit. You will love the people you meet in Ganim’s remarkable documentary, who stand up to power.

You’ll also learn there is much more to do, and friends to do it with, same as Brockovich shows us in her book sans Superman. What No Defense makes clear is that PFAS aren’t restricted to just one area. The DoD is in the process of poisoning groundwater near you because—with 700 locations of old and active military bases in the U.S., and 800 more overseas—like a virus, its water is spreading a toxic pandemic. As Toni Morrison once said so beautifully, “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”

Full story

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Pease activist touts PFAS documentary premiere

February 20, 2020

Portsmouth activist Andrea Amico attended the premiere of a new PFAS-centered documentary that focuses on how contamination at military bases affects the communities around it.

The documentary, “No Defense: The U.S. Military’s War on Water” debuted in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Wednesday night.

Amico, co-founder of the community group Testing For Pease, thought it was important to fly out to attend the premiere.

“It was a really great documentary. It highlights the community perspective and how people who have been exposed to water contaminated with PFAS are having issues with cancers and other health ailments,” Amico said during a phone interview Thursday afternoon from a Michigan airport.

The documentary by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sara Ganim focuses on PFAS contamination at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, Michigan. Like the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth and Newington, the former Michigan base is now a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) site.

“There’s a lot of films out now about PFAS, whether it’s ‘Dark Waters’ or ‘The Devil We Know,’ but this is the first documentary that specifically focuses on PFAS contamination at DOD (Department of Defense) sites,” Amico said. “As we know there’s hundreds of DOD sites around the country that are dealing with PFAS contamination, which is what happened at Pease.”

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Stateside: Power of the presidential pardon; PFAS documentary; Detroiters in Ghana

February 19, 2020

New film explores why  U.S. government failed to regulate PFAS in drinking water

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PFAS documentary about U.S. military’s ‘war on water’ to debut in Ann Arbor

February 18, 2020

“No Defense” is a film about Michigan’s longest-known site with PFAS pollution, the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda.

It’s about a community that’s waited years for cleanup, and the people affected — “people who are suffering, who are blowing the whistle, and who are fighting the United States military’s war on water,” the film description states.

The documentary directed by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Sara Ganim is making its debut at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor Wednesday, Feb. 19.


The one-night-only showing starts at 7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and film subjects.

Admission is free and tickets can be reserved online. About 600 are reserved already, Ganim said.

“This documentary tells the story of the Americans who are fighting against one of the largest-known polluters in the country — the United States military,” the description states.


“For decades, it’s been documented that a category of chemicals known as PFAS are harmful to life, yet the military continues to mandate its use at hundreds of sites across the country, contaminating surface water and drinking water.”

The film is produced by Emmy-award-winning journalist Lennart Bourin, with Robert P. Ufer as executive producer.


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Never-before-seen PFAS documentary showing at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater Feb. 19

February 13, 2020

The Michigan Theater will be screening the premiere of “No Defense: The U.S. Government’s War on Water,” a new documentary exploring the PFAS contamination crisis in the lakeside community of Oscoda, Michigan on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.


Nearly 10 years ago, the decommissioned Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda Township was found to have polluted the area with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.” Five public health warnings were issued after the contamination was publicly reported.

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No Defense: New PFAS documentary looks at military’s role in the crisis

February 12, 2020

A new documentary on PFAS by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sara Ganim spotlights the contamination in Oscoda, Michigan.

Her film, “No Defense:  The U.S. Military’s War On Water,” looks at the struggle between the U.S. military and communities dealing with PFAS contamination from U.S. military bases. Oscoda is just one example of those communities.

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Documentary focuses on PFAs at former Air Force base

February 11, 2020

The state is now suing manufacturers of PFAs, the chemicals blamed for contaminating drinking water of nearly two million Michigan residents.

It is an issue at the center of a new documentary focusing on the community of Oscoda. That’s where public health warnings were issued due to the prevalence of PFAs around the old Wurtsmith Air Force base.

The film is called “No Defense, the U.S. Military’s War on Water.” It tells the story of their involvement in the growing PFAs contamination crisis in Oscoda.

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“No Defense” explores PFAs pollution on the former Wurtsmith Air Force base

February 10, 2020

PFAs are a family of chemicals found across the state, particularly around current and former military bases, and linked to health problems including cancer.

Oscoda residents say the Air Force has not done enough to clean up existing pollution and some veterans of the base allege that they have seen health impacts because of their exposure to PFAs chemicals.

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1st Friday Focus On The Environment: New PFAS Film To Open in Ann Arbor

February 7, 2020

Sara Ganim is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with strong ties to Michigan. Her new independent film, “No Defense: The U.S. Government’s War on Water,” looks into the PFAs contamination emanating from the old Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda and how our government’s conflict of interest has lead to inaction. WEMU’s David Fair and Michigan League of Conservation Voters executive director Lisa Wozniak caught up with Sara in advance of the free screening of her film at the State Theatre in Ann Arbor on February 19th.

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PFAS Documentary and Related Symposium Planned for February

January 28, 2020

A premiere screening of a documentary called “No Defense” by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Sara Ganim is planned for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19. It will be shown at the Michigan Theatre at 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor.


“No Defense: The United States Government’s War on Water” centers around the stories of people that live on or near Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, and drank water poisoned with PFAS chemicals – water that still flows from the former base today, contaminating the surrounding town, lake and the people who live there.


This documentary takes a hard look at why the U.S. EPA has failed to regulate PFAS in drinking water, or forced the cleanup of contaminated sites.


 A discussion panel will directly follow the screening.

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