“Unacceptable Levels” Screening January 30th Reveals How Your Body is Ground Zero in the Chemical Wars

by jim on January 6, 2014

lab rat

New Film Screening

One Night Only

"Unacceptable Levels"

One man and his camera traveled extensively to find and interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy, and law.  He weaves their testimonies into a compelling narrative of how the chemical revolution brought us to where we are, and of where, if we’re not vigilant, it may take us.


Thursday, January 30 7:30PM

at AMC Valley View 16 in Dallas



(Only 100 tickets left as of Monday)

It doesn't take the average citizen very long to figure out that it's not only the chemicals being released from the drilling pad, or cement plant, or lead smelter they're fighting against that's harming them, but also the way those chemicals are allowed to be dispersed into the public commons and our bodies by government regulators.

Every month generates a new study confirming how levels of a pollutant previously thought to be "safe" actually turn out to be harmful. Or that exposures to multiple chemicals can cause cumulative health impacts not currently assessed. Or that even if one generation escapes harm from a dangerous exposure, as many as three of four future generations of descendants are still at risk from being harmed by that very same exposure. The more we study contamination, the more extensive and complex it is.

Meanwhile, government regulators are stuck in a simplistic 19th Century, "Arsenic and Old Lace" risk assessment view of the world that's completely underestimating the harm of 80,000 synthetic chemicals on the marketplace. They're in our food. They're in our water. They're in our air. They're in our sippie cups and backpacks and jewelry. Only a handful – less than 200 – have been studied extensively. We're all lab rats in a huge, unprecedented experiment on human health. Your body is now ground zero in this experiment, whether you like it or not.

Why are there higher rates of child asthma, autism, food allergies, immune system problems? Adult onset asthma is increasing, soaring lung cancer rates among non-smokers and insulin resistance-related maladies? Science tells us all of these health problems, and more, can be caused by an increasing body burden of higher and higher doses of involuntary chemical exposures.

There is no better or faster way to get schooled on this contradiction between the science and regulation of chemical exposure than a new 90-minute film coming to Dallas on January 30th called "Unacceptable Levels."

First, it assumes the Everyman viewpoint of Ed Brown the filmmaker. He's not a professional environmentalist or propagandist. He's a dad that works in a restaurant that's wondering what in the food and water he and his family are ingesting. It's his curiosity about the chemicals he's surrounded by, just as it is with most citizens being shat on, that fuels the film's narrative.

Brown hits the road and talks to some of the leading environmental health researchers and advocates, including Dr. Richard Clapp, Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University and Biologist Dr. Tyrone Hayes at The University of California, Berkeley, Randy Hayes of Rainforest Action Network, and Jeff Hollender, the former CEO of Seventh Generation. You never get the feeling you're being preached to or given a scolding. Ed Brown is as surprised as anyone else at what he's finding out as he makes each of his stops. (We've put in a request to interview Brown. Stay tuned)

Second, the film breaks the information down into bite-size pieces that are digestible even if you start out knowing nothing about environmental health. This is meant to be a primer for the average citizen, so bring your skeptical Tea Party uncle or aunt and see, if by the end of the film, they still think the EPA is "over-regulating" industry.

Finally, even though it doesn't address air contamination issues that Downwinders works on, the facts of how "small stuff adds up"  and affects human health when it comes to industrial poisons is exactly the same no matter how you get exposed. It's the same rotten out-of-date system that's allowing the exposure. There's no better one-stop explanation of how that binary "safe/not safe" system stinks than this film. It's a great case for regulatory reform.

Downwinders at Risk has a long history of challenging that system. In 1996, we published "Sacrificing Science for Convenience," by the late Dr. Marvin Legator of the University of Texas at Galveston, the first journal-published and peer-reviewed critique of the way the State of Texas assessed toxic exposures. It paved the way for an historic Houston Chronicle series and even produced some reform of procedures. We've continually challenged the "safe" levels of ozone pollution allowed by EPA despite their own scientists telling them otherwise, as well as "acceptable" levels of toxins from cement kilns and gas wells. Currently, we're fighting over what are "safe' levels of lead to leave in Frisco from the Exide smelter.

If you want to know a bit more about the kind of issues talked about in the film and how they relate for the January 30th screening of "Unacceptable Levels," please see these past posts:

The Dose No Longer Makes the Poison, But We Regulate It As if It Does


Another Study Reveals Why Our System of “Safe Levels” is a Tragic Mirage


Dallas-based Gulf War Illness Study Points to Low Level Chemical Exposure; DMN Ignores


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