A Chemical Reaction, is a 70 minute feature documentary movie that tells the story of one of the most powerful and effective community initiatives in the history of North America. It started with one lone voice in 1984. Dr. June Irwin, a dermatologist, noticed a connection between her patients’ health conditions and their exposure to chemical pesticides and herbicides. With relentless persistence she brought her concerns to town meetings to warn her fellow citizens that the chemicals they were putting on their lawns posed severe health risks and had unknown side effects on the environment.
Dr. Irwin’s persuasive arguments and data to back her findings eventually led the town of Hudson to enact a by-law that banned the use of all chemical pesticides and herbicides. The most mighty chemical companies in North America put their full legal weight on the tiny town and eventually the case made it to the Supreme Court.
The town’s right to protect its citizens was upheld, and — like a row of dominos — other municipalities followed suit. The movement spread so far and wide that the entire province of Quebec enacted a ban and Home Depot stopped putting the dangerous pesticide products on their shelves.
“The film asks the obvious question: ‘If Canadians have decided to ban these products, why does the U.S. still sell them?’” said Paul Tukey, the American author and anti-pesticide activist who serves as narrator.
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