There have been many enlightening documentaries on the harmful effects our everyday choices can have on our health and the planet, but few have delved into the contaminated world of chemical pesticides and herbicides. Long story short: Your lawn could kill you. The documentary A Chemical Reaction tells the story of how one community’s battle to ban harmful chemicals became a movement that spread throughout North America.
Making its local debut on May 5, the film promises to reveal the connection between exposure to chemical pesticides and troubling health problems. It also offers an inspiration look at the extreme change that can occur when communities band together towards a common goal.
The film's premier is presented by the Green Valleys Association; a question-and-answer session with the Executive Producer Paul Tukey will take place after the screening.
Details and the full plot synopsis, after the jump.
Wednesday, May 5: A Chemical Reaction: The Story of a True Green Revolution
7 p.m.; $10 donation, Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville
A Chemical Reaction is a 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, warning 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.
Paul Tukey, one of the nation’s leading experts on organic lawn care has been following this story for years. After becoming seriously ill with acute pesticide sensitivity from applying chemical lawn products in his own lawn care business, he became an outspoken advocate for alternatives to chemical lawn care. He travels across the country lecturing on the subject and has written the nation’s leading book on organic lawn care titled, The Organic Lawn Care Manual.
This documentary follows his journey that leads to the doorstep of Hudson, Quebec. It’s an inspiring story of overcoming great odds and demonstrates the power of people coming together to effect great change in our society.