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Published on Oct 29, 2013
What if the greatest chemical disaster of our time didn't involve oil spills, superfund sites or nuclear meltdowns? Instead, imagine much lower levels of exposure, inflicted over several generations and affecting every person on the planet. The result: Rising rates of everything from cancer to autism to infertility. This is the shocking reality explored in The Human Experiment, a gripping look at the personal costs associated with the chemicals in our most common household products.
The film follows a band of unlikely activists who are fighting back. Ranging from Howard, a conservative businessman, to Jessica, a teenage radical, they are staking reputation, career and future in this battle to protect our health. And their opposition is goliath. The powerful and well-funded chemical lobby is heavily invested in maintaining the status quo, pulling unseen strings to create an aura of skepticism and confusion.
This mounting confrontation travels from the majestic panoramas of California's coastline to the crowded hearing rooms in our nation's capital. Cinéma vérité footage draws us into the lives of people like Jenn & Noah, a young couple in the brutal midst of their struggle with infertility, and Marika, a breast cancer survivor whose chances of staying cancer free are threatened by a chemical used in everything from aluminum cans to plastic water bottles.
With everything on the line, they are desperate to take advantage of a unique opportunity for change. This year, legislation was introduced that would update our country's chemicals policy, the oldest environmental law in the U.S. to have never been reformed. But will the Democratic sponsors be able to move the bill forward while they still control the Senate? Or will increasing Republican hostility toward the EPA and environmental regulation keep everything stalled until the next presidential election?
It's an emotionally and politically charged showdown and the stakes couldn't be higher -- for these activists on the front lines, for our country and for every one of us. The Human Experiment is about the complex balances at play between preserving profits and protecting health. But at its core, it's about the heartwarming and empowering efforts of individuals to shift that balance in the favor of our health.