Dark Waters: Where are Sue and Bucky Bailey Now?

Image Credit: Bucky Bailey/Facebook

When watching ‘Dark Waters,’ one cannot help but feel inquisitive about the people whose lives were directly impacted by DuPont’s actions. Though the movie is primarily about the legal side of the battle, the motivations of those involved stem from what happened to people like Sue Bailey and Bucky Bailey. The mother and son duo are even talked about in the movie when trying to emphasize the severity of the consequences that the victims had to face.

Sue and Bucky Bailey’s Lives Were Changed Forever By C8

Sue and Bucky Bailey’s connection to the DuPont case can be traced back to 1980 when the former was shifted to be a part of the Teflon unit at DuPont’s Washington Works plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. As per Sue, she used to work in a small room with no windows. Apparently, her job was to ensure that the chemicals being dumped by the plant did not make it to the Ohio River. The chemical in question was perfluorooctanoic acid, AKA PFOA or C8.

Image Credit: Bucky Bailey/Facebook

As Sue shared, she had to make sure that the C8 waste went to the pond behind the plant. When the cylinders containing the waste chemical began to spill, she was allegedly told to redirect the waste toward the drain but never put water on it. The former DuPonty worker has claimed that she was never given any form of special apparatus or clothing for her work and was not made aware of any possible consequences from inhaling the fumes from the chemical she was working with.

By May 1980, Sue had been transferred away from the Teflon unit. However, while she was still at the Teflon unit, she had become pregnant with her son, Bucky Bailey. When Bucky was born in January 1981, his mouth was shaped unusually, and the position of his eyes and nose made the doctors baffled and wary about his chances of surviving. After being transferred to a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Bucky survived the night. Sue was beside herself and could not understand just what had happened.

After Bucky had gotten surgery, he was finally able to leave Ohio with Sue. The latter returned to work at DuPont in 1981, where she allegedly received a memo that highlighted that studies had been conducted to show that pregnant lab animals, when exposed to C8, gave birth to children with physical deformities. This made Sue wonder if Bucky’s condition resulted from her work with C8. According to her, she had been told by the plant doctor that it was not so.

By the time Bucky had turned 5, he had undergone 30 surgeries. His face has been reconstructed using a metal plate, rob cartilage, and skin grafts. Apparently, many medical experts who came across Bucky’s face could not understand the reasons behind his condition. However, as Robert Bilott’s efforts made DuPont’s actions more public, Bucky himself joined the class-action lawsuit against the company at the age of 25.

Sue and Bucky Bailey Have Remained Vocal About Their Struggles

Thanks to courage showcased by Sue Bailey and Bucky Bailey, and many of those like them, DuPont has paid over $670 million in reparations to those impacted by their actions. Their case was a highlight in the 2019 movie ‘Dark Waters,’ a project they seemed to wholeheartedly support. In fact, Bucky even appeared as himself in the movie in a scene where Robert Bilott (played by Mark Ruffalo) had returned to Parkersburg.

Working on the movie also seemed like a cathartic experience for Bucky, who has been a part of the battle against DuPont for a long time. “You’re always able to fight, you’re always able to have a voice, even when it seems like no one is listening. I’m a statement of fact for that. For so many years, we tried to have a voice, we tried to seek litigation against DuPont and were laughed away. ‘They’re too big, you’re one person.’ But it’s the voice of Wilbur Tennant that rings in my ear,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s the voice of Rob Bilott, who just took a stand. One voice can change the course of history, for bad or good in this case.”

Though Sue has also taken a public stance in regard to her opinions regarding DuPont, she mostly prefers to lead a private life. That said, she retains much love for her son Bucky and is undoubtedly delighted by his each and every achievement. The man in question now works as a Technical Support Senior Engineer for AVI-SPL. The former student of Northern Virginia Community College – Loudoun Campus has been working for the company since May 2017 and acquired his current position in October 2023.

Bucky is quite happily married and is a father of two adorable children: a son and a daughter.  More than once, Bucky has publicly affirmed that his children are perfectly healthy and do not seem to have inherited his medical issues. The doting father is always proud of their achievement and seems to be very much in love with his wife.

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