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No Defense PFAS Symposium

No Defense PFAS Symposium

No Defense PFAS Symposium is an interdisciplinary experience that explores the impacts of and creates awareness about PFAS.

About the Symposium

The University of West Florida is hosting the No Defense PFAS Symposium on Oct. 25-26, 2023. This symposium is an interdisciplinary experience that explores the impacts of and creates awareness around PFAS, "forever chemicals" found in many commonly used products.

The symposium includes the screening of the "No Defense" documentary film followed by a panel discussion on Wednesday and discussions with experts on Thursday. It is a featured event during UWF's Research Week.

What to Expect

Through the symposium, presenters and partners seek to raise awareness of how PFAS impacts the Pensacola Community and empower citizens to protect themselves and the environment.

The No Defense PFAS Symposium will feature a film screening of the "No Defense" documentary film and discussions with experts. 

When: Wednesday, Oct. 25, and Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023

Where: University of West Florida, Pensacola Campus, Commons Auditorium

What is PFAS?

PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances)  is a “forever chemical” found in many commonly used products. These products include firefighting foam, Teflon (TM), water-resistant fabrics such as rain jackets, personal care products such as cosmetics, dental floss and shampoo and  stain-resistant coatings used on fabrics. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, these chemicals “are found in water, air, fish and soil locations across the nation and the globe.

Schedule of Events

 The schedule presented here is a tentative listing and subject to change, as plans are currently underway. 

Day Time Event
Wednesday, October 25  2-7 p.m.  Informational Fair 
Wednesday, October 25 7-8:30 p.m.  "No Defense" Documentary Screening (Free Registration Required)
Wednesday, October 25 8:30-9:15 p.m.  Expert Panel
Thursday, October 26 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  Discussions with Experts

On Thursday, October 26 UWF Faculty will lead discussions with PFAS Experts. Students and the community are encouraged and welcome to attend. 

TimePFAS Expert SpeakerUWF Faculty/Staff Speaker
9-9:50 a.m. Sara Ganim Professors Will Kennedy and Paul Pilger
10-10:50 a.m. Anthony Spaniola Professor Dr. David Ramsey
11-11:50 a.m.

Cathy Wusterbarth

Professors Dr. Ida Montgomery, Dr. Cynthia Smith-Peters, Dr. Jill Van Der Like and Dr. Justice Mbizo

12-12:50 p.m.

Craig Minor

Professor Dr. Joseph Herzog, Behavioral Health Coordinator, Gary Holloway and UWF Military and Veterans Resource Center Director, Lori Milkeris

"No Defense" Documentary Screening

"No Defense" is an award-winning documentary by director Sara Ganim, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and executive producer Lennart Bourin. Bourin also serves as the director of photography and both Ganim and Bourin are the film's writers.

The film shines a light on the 650+ towns and millions of Americans adversely impacted by PFAS water pollutants and the regulator that has failed to act. To learn more about the filmmakers, visit 

A child is standing on a dock by the water.

Watch the "No Defense" trailer, here. 

*Page photos are screen shots that have been taken from the "No Defense" trailer


Register to attend the screening of the "No Defense" Documentary. The event is free, however, registration is required due to limited seating.

Register for the "No Defense" Screening

Sponsorship Opportunities

Do you want to make a difference in your community? Join us by participating in a co-beneficial sponsorship opportunity that will make the UWF community aware of your services and that you support research efforts that will help to change the world. For more information, contact Robin Zimmern at

Sponsorship Opportunities

About the PFAS Experts

Sara Ganim

Sara Ganim

 Sara Ganim is the Director and Writer of the “No Defense” documentary. She started her career as a newspaper reporter and won a Pulitzer Prize at age 24 for breaking and covering the investigation into former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of young boys. In 2018, Ganim’s first documentary, a 30-minute investigative piece on drinking water in rural America titled “Dirty Water”, aired on CNN. Ganim spent seven years with CNN as a correspondent and reporter and is currently a journalist-in-residence at the University of Florida and the James Madison visiting professor for First Amendment Issues at Columbia University.

Tony Spaniola

Anthony Spaniola

Anthony M. Spaniola is an Attorney and National advocate for PFAS-impacted communities. He has delivered PFAS presentations at conferences across the country and is frequently quoted in state and national media coverage of PFAS issues. In 2021, he testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about PFAS contamination at U.S. Military installations. Spaniola is the founding partner in the commercial law firm of Ufer, Spaniola & Frost, P.C. in Troy, Michigan.

Cathy Wusterbarth

Cathy Wusterbarth

Cathy Wusterbarth is Co-Leader and a founder of NOW (Need Our Water). She is a member of the local Restoration Advisory Board in Oscoda, Michigan and community leader in the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network with a mission to prevent and clean up toxic PFAS contamination in the Great Lakes region.  

Wusterbarth has consistently demanded the State of Michigan and the U.S. Air Force address the PFAS contamination that affects her community and over 700 military installations. In 2019, Congressman Dan Kildee invited her to the State of the Union as a representative of communities affected by PFAS contamination and to support the congressional PFAS Task Force. She later testified at a U.S. Senate hearing addressing efforts to Improve Interagency and Intergovernmental Coordination on PFAS for Michigan Communities. 

In 2022, Cathy contributed to the revised “Guidance on PFAS Exposure, Testing, and Clinical Follow-Up” through the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine which helps clinicians respond to patient concerns about PFAS exposure. She believes the federal government should conduct epidemiological studies necessary to correlate veteran and their families’ health outcomes and has successfully established a PFAS blood testing project in her community. Cathy is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and is a native of Oscoda where she currently lives and works.

Craig Minor

Craig Minor

Craig Minor is Mitchell Minor's dad and married to Carrie Minor (40-Years) as cast in the "No Defense" documentary. Co-author of "OVERWHELMED, A Civilian Casualty of Cold War Poison" OVERWHELMED is available on as an Audiobook, paperback, and Kindle.

Retired United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel; Wurtsmith Air Force Base B-52 Aircraft Commander and Wright Patterson Air Force Base NT-39A Instructor Research Pilot and Senior Acquisition Manager. Juris Doctor, Master of Business Administration, and Bachelor of Science, Chemistry.

Symposium Contact


For questions regarding the No Defense PFAS Symposium, please email Patti Spaniola, Director of Conferences & Events, at  

Thank you to our Sponsors!