Thursday, August 20, 2015

Environmental DVD must-see: Marie-Monique Robin's thoughtful, scary OUR DAILY POISON

If you're anything like me, at this point in time you've seen quite a number of documentaries that explore what is happening to humans, courtesy of the growing dangers to our environment from chemicals, pesticides, plastics, food additives and all the rest. And, yes, the imminence of global warming rather reduces all these individual threats to something minor in comparison. Still, the damage we've suffered and continue to suffer from a combination of corporate greed, bad science and bought-out scientists seems both incredible and disgusting.

The gift of Marie-Monique Robin's film, OUR DAILY POISON, is that its author, shown at left, never raises her voice as she goes on a hunting expedition to learn about what we are currently putting in our bodies via exposure to all these things, and then to determine whether the supposedly recommended daily intake of many of these poisons (and they are exactly that) are anywhere near what might be considered "safe."  Ms Robin seems to me a tireless (but never tiresome) investigator who is able to ferret out information and then insist that her interviewees answer her questions as directly and honestly as possible. She is specific, detailed and knowledgeable, piecing together her evidence extremely well, and hers is by far the best investigation-on-film about the dangers to our environment from these chemicals and hormones that I have yet seen.

In fact, one of the key points she and her scientists make here is how chemicals and hormones are nothing like the same thing, where dosage and daily intake are concerned. As one scientist succinctly explains, "The entire process of calculating an acceptable daily intake is based on false assumptions."

It gets better. And worse, of course. Nailing the U.S.'s own Food and Drug Administration, as well as the ESSA (European Food Safety Authority), as Ms Robin does, is bracing, but because these organizations wield the power, very little is able to be done. Due to the filmmaker's intelligence and probing, we learn all sorts of fascinating, frightening stuff. I think it was when the documentary got into the subject of the veracity of a particular study -- along with its "statistics" and what you might call "zombie mice" -- that Robin's ability to educate, entertain and alarm us fully kicked in for me. From there onwards, I didn't want to miss a single word or view that she has to offer us.

As the movie makes quite clear -- via evertyhing from talking-head interviews to charming archival footage and artful drawings -- it is less that the powers-that-be actually want to poison us than that they merely want to keep things on an even keel, with the corporations kept happy and profitable and the bad news kept away from any media attention (the latter is not so difficult in this time of media obeisance to corporate power -- and often corporate ownership, too).

What we learn here about everything from pesticides to endocrine disruptors, from aspartame to plastics, is genuinely frightening. Simply for the anecdote about scientific studies that used plastic tubing and/or containers, the movie is worth seeing! And there is so much more. The film ends with a look at India as a country with a terrific anti-cancer diet. But even India is now "Westernizing" to the point that Monsanto may have already undone the "health" that was present back in 2010, when this documentary was made. (It is a little additionally scary that a film this important has taken so long to surface here in the USA.)

As usual, the "bad guys" refused to be interviewed, and so, while some can claim that the film is "one-sided," this is only because the other side managed not to be confronted. Available now from the indispensable Icarus Films and running nearly two full hours in length (trust me, the doc is not overlong), Our Daily Poison is a terrific addition to the growing catalog of evidence of how the human race is effectively destroying its own health and habitat.

No comments: