Unacceptable Levels
By : Catherine Morpeth
RELEVATE Impact Film Forum presents
Unacceptable Levels Documentary

Whether from the waste of industrial and agricultural processes, or creations made to perform various functions, we can safely say that chemicals developed over the last century have caused mass environmental and human change. Organophosphates are now used to spray on our food, but were previously used as nerve gas in the war. Toxic sewage sludge is now being dumped on farmland; meaning agribusiness is becoming a toxic minefield. Food colourings are being made out of coal.

Over the last 25 years, childhood leukemia has increased by over 60 percent and brain cancer by over 40 percent making cancer the second leading cause of death in children in the United States. Autism has become an extremely prominent mental disability, which scientists have understood to be largely due to the changes in environment. It has become clear that children are becoming pre-polluted due to their parents' exposure to the chemicals, and by growing up in a world where chemical exposure has become a day-to-day occurrence.

Of course many chemicals have proved useful, and sometimes life saving, but the majority that have been introduced are harmful to the environment and on top of that, to humans. The only way to better manage the risk is to eliminate harmful chemicals whilst continuing to produce non-harmful ones. However, this is not done so easily due to the protected and often biased rights of the chemical industry.

It is no secret that corporations have a large amount of power within political circles, but the mass majority are kept in the dark as to the level of that power, and in which legal ways it has been gained. The documentary spins through the decades, beginning on the 1940s to display the long development and advancement of toxic chemicals and their manufacturing companies. Corporations have managed to protect their ability to continue manufacturing these toxic chemicals and allowing them in every day produce. The invention of plastic, amongst many other harmful non-disposable chemicals, has quickly led to the Pacific Ocean becoming known as the world's largest landfill, or the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." It has been estimated that around 100 million tons of trash have been laid to rest in this landfill, which expands to about the size of Europe. Not only does this effect the ocean environment but also the food chain, as fish ingest tons of plastic each year, which we are then eating.

It's hard to imagine the magnitude of trash floating around in the ocean, as well as how much it impacts our day-to-day lives. It's for this reason that aspiring filmmaker Ed Brown decided to explore the impact of chemicals after drinking a glass of water and considering how many unnatural products were in the glass. His intrigue fueled the creation of Unacceptable Levels, a documentary film exploring the impact of chemicals in our day-to-day lives as well as its origins and the health effects it has caused for humanity. His exploration proved both unsettling and thought provoking.

The work examines the result of the chemical revolution of the 1940's and is told through the eyes of a father, desperate to understand the world in which he is raising his children with his wife. Brown interviews top scientists in order to feed us important facts, some of which the general populace have never faced and some of which are known, but not acted upon. His film is not just a tool for important information, but Brown hopes for it to become a guide and stepping stone towards obtaining a toxin-reduced way of life for everyone.

However, now the cycle of chemical waste has become such an everyday part of the human life, there is no longer just one big reversible factor that can remove these chemicals from our environment. Once out there, the chemicals remain. But we can find ways to reduce it. As a society that introduces chemicals into our diet, home, environment on a daily basis, we can attempt individually to reduce chemical exposure within these separate realms.

Ed Brown was a waiter and aspiring filmmaker when he decided to start exploring the impact of chemicals. His action is testament to the fact that anyone can help change the world chemicals are creating, and that the action can come from one individual, and still show a huge amount of impact. We need to remember that acceptable doesn't mean good. And that 'safe' is a distinctly relative term.

Take action HERE by donating to any one of the non-profits that Unacceptable Levels are involved with.

If you're interested in watching the documentary, PURCHASE TICKETS for RELEVATE Impact Film Forum at The New Parkway Theater, Oakland CA, Friday , November 16th.
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