In 1955, Ford built America’s largest auto plant in Mahwah, New Jersey, just up the river from New York City. And between 1967 and 1971, Ford dumped hundreds of tons of toxic waste into mineshafts in northern New Jersey—right in the backyards of communities.
The sludge of lead, arsenic, Freon, paint chemicals and dioxins poisoned the members of the Ramapough Native American community, causing a spate of severe health problems. Mothers started having miscarriages; people started coming down with cancer. One member of the Ramapough, Wayne Mann, led the charge against Ford in 2005 with a lawsuit stating that they had deliberately poisoned the land and the people living on it. The class action suit finally carried through in 2008; but with an impending bankruptcy on the horizon, the Ramapough took a settlement averaging $8,000 per plaintiff—except for the 30 people in the area who died of cancer while the lawsuit went through the courts.
Now, Mann’s fight against Ford will be on an HBO documentary, entitled “Mann vs. Ford.” Directed by Maro Chermayeff and Micah Fink, it will most likely remind viewers of “Erin Brockovich,” without the sassy female lead, as both films are based on true stories of devious corporate misconduct. If he poisoned 10 children, Mann said, he’d go to jail for life; if a corporation poisons hundreds of people, it will get away with it.
The documentary airs tonight at 9pm Eastern time to HBO suscribers. Click the jump to see a preview.
[Source: National Catholic Reporter]