More than 140 000 new chemicals and pesticides have been synthesised since 1950. Many are poorly understood and tested for toxicity. Dark Water an important film that exposes the dangers of this and highlights the spin-doctoring in the chemical industry.
Dark Waters is a drama based on a 2016 New York Times Magazine article about huge chemical company DuPont knowingly using toxic substances in its billion-dollar products. Mark Ruffalo plays real-life lawyer Robert Bilott, who’s trying to fight for the chemical’s victims.
This is a must-see film anyone with any kind of social conscience and a concern for corporate behaviour. As well a gripping, sobering yet uplifting story the performances, direction and production qualities are outstanding.
It should make us all look closely at the products we buy and better understand the contents of products before we buy them.
Our chemical world
Chemicals are part of our everyday life. They are found in almost every product and service we touch, use, wear and eat. From pharmaceuticals to plant protection, innovations in chemistry can improve our health, food security and much more.
To provide context on the size and scope of the industry – in the United States more than 85,000 chemicals are in commerce according to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. This includes 2,500 ‘high product volume’ chemicals that are manufactured at a rate of more than 1 million pounds annually.
From The Lancet Commission on pollution and health, October 2017 –
”Chemical pollution is a great and growing global problem. The effects of chemical pollution on human health are poorly defined and its contribution to the global burden of disease is almost certainly underestimated.
More than 140 000 new chemicals and pesticides have been synthesised since 1950. Of these materials, the 5000 that are produced in greatest volume have become widely dispersed in the environment and are responsible for nearly universal human exposure.
Fewer than half of these high-production volume chemicals have undergone any testing for safety or toxicity, and rigorous pre-market evaluation of new chemicals has become mandatory in only the past decade and in only a few high-income countries.
The result is that chemicals and pesticides whose effects on human health and the environment were never examined have repeatedly been responsible for episodes of disease, death, and environmental degradation.”