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Toxic Trespass

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In Toxic Trespass, intrepid filmmaker Barri Cohen launches an investigation into the effects of the chemical soup around us. She starts with her 10-year-old daughter, whose blood carries carcinogens like benzene and the long-banned DDT. Then, Cohen heads out to Windsor and Sarnia: Canadian toxic hotspots, with startling clusters of deadly diseases.

Here, everyone seems to know children who have suffered respiratory illnesses, leukemia, brain tumours and other illnesses. And on the Native reserve of Aamjiwnaang, ringed by Sarnia's "chemical valley," the film reveals a startling birth rate problem that officials just can't ignore.

Cohen journeys into toxic nightmares all too common in industrialized countries. She meets passionate activists working for positive change, along with doctors and scientists who see evidence of links between environmental pollution and health problems. And she learns how quickly barriers can go up when anyone tries to even ask questions about the connection betweeen toxins and serious health problems.

Perhaps most appalling - and funny, in their own twisted way - are the roadblocks Cohen encounters when she tries to get information from federal officials. One tells her his department is "planning to discuss the plans."

This moving documentary is empowering and leavened with wry humour. Carried by Cohen's passion for truth and her disarming openness, it is essential viewing for anyone concerned about the effects of pollutants on our - and our children's - very DNA. Toxic Trespass is accompanied by a comprehensive guidebook for educators, activists and concerned citizens, produced by the Women's Healthy Environment Network.

2007, 81 min 05 s

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