Thursday, August 06, 2015
"The Human Experiment": Sean Penn narrates an account of how companies lobby away the dangers to consumers in everyday products
“The Human Experiment” (2013), directed by Don Hardy, Jr. and Dana Nachman, and narrated by Sean Penn (also an executive producer), walks through the history of damage to ordinary Americans by everyday chemicals, and the systematic efforts of industry to cover up safety problems with slick, hired public relations firms and with "K-street" lobbyists.
The film starts out showing a young woman jogging in California’s coastal mountains, and giving her account of being diagnosed by breast cancer, despite no family history, despite never feeling better in her life.
One young couple attributes infertility to chemicals, as the wife tries artificial fertilization. In theory, pollution could cause populations to become sterile and stop reproducing, the “Children of Men” (2006) scenario.
The film notes that patients on (kidney) hemodialysis get affected by unwelcome chemicals.
The film also moves on to examine the rise in autism, mostly in boys, and says that the increase is more than can be accounted for just by better reporting. A mother presents a 12-year-old son with autism, and never potty trained.
The film then compares the behavior of many other companies, especially in chemicals and plastics,, to that of tobacco companies, who began to “conspire” when they first suspect that cigarettes were harmful back in the 1950s.
A housekeeper, speaking Spanish, discusses her exposure to chemicals, while doing well the one job she can get..
A good point is that “environmental justice” is about how risks are distributed in society among various peoples.
One activist became a “family member” of one of the families severely affected by cosmetic products.
The official site is here (Area 23a and Film Buff).
The film can be watched on Netflix, or on Amazon Instant Play for $3.99