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Homo Toxicus

Explores the links between the hundreds of toxic pollutants in our environment and increasing health problems.

A printer-friendly version of this page 88 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Carole Poliquin
Produced by Carole Poliquin and Isaac Isitan
Directors of Photography: Tolga Kutluay, Isaac Isitan
Editor: Fernando Lopez-Escriva
Original Music: Antoine Bustros

"Sheds light on the intrinsically personal dimension of environmental problems. When we pollute nature, we end up polluted ourselves." David Suzuki
A global experiment is in progress, and we are the guinea pigs.

Tons of chemicals are released into the environment everyday. The average citizen is not only unaware of this daily exposure, but of the long-term effects these toxic substances can have on living organisms. The majority of the 100,000 industrial compounds developed since World War II that are now in daily use around the world have never been tested for the type of consistent, low-level exposure we experience in our day-to-day lives.

These compounds find their way into the body in a variety of ways: in the food we eat and the air we breathe, through contact with the skin, and in many cases passed from mother to infant in the womb. Up to 247 toxic substances have been found in newborns alone. Today we are handing down a toxic load to our children along with our genetic legacy.

Carried out with intelligence and humor, Homo Toxicus explores the myriad links between these toxic substances and increasing health problems such as cancer, allergies, hyperactivity, and infertility. Interviews with industry scientists and independent researchers shed light on inconsistent standards used for evaluation and regulation of chemical agents. The findings are disturbing and strongly challenge us to re-evaluate the laws and procedures currently in place to safeguard our health against man-made chemicals and potential environmental pollutants.

Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2009     Copyright Date: 2008
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-888-0     VHS ISBN: 1-59458-887-2

"Here is your chance to meet with some highly respected scientists whose research has led to an entirely new way to look at the safety of chemicals. They tell you a great deal about endocrine disruption, the phenomenon of chemical exposure through the mother to the embryo and the damage it causes in the womb. I am certain, that before the film ends many viewers will already be thinking about their personal habits and the society we live in--and what must change if humans are to continue to survive on Earth."
Dr. Theodora Colborn, Professor Emeritus, Department of Zoology, University of Florida, President, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, co-Author, Our Stolen Future

"This is a very compelling, up-to-date survey of the current environmental issues people in North America and Europe are concerned about. It includes comments and explanations by an outstanding group of scientists from three countries and viewers will find it very illuminating. The audiences that will benefit from the timely information in this film include students, scientists, and educated and engaged citizens, especially in Canada and the U.S., but in all 'over-developed countries.'"
Richard Clapp, Professor, Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health

"Homo Toxicus sheds light on the intrinsically personal dimension of environmental problems. When we pollute nature, we end up polluted ourselves."
David Suzuki, geneticist, author, host of CBC's The Nature of Things

"The film, Homo Toxicus, examines the potential health impacts from widespread exposures to emerging environmental chemicals...For too long, we have erred on the side of protecting industry rather than public health."
Dr. Bruce Lanphear, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

"[Homo Toxicus] takes an 'everyman's' viewpoint and includes a variety of statistics and research findings...Recommended for academic libraries with collections in public health, environmental health and environmental studies in general."
Lori Widzinski, Health Sciences Library, University at Buffalo, Educational Media reviews Online

"This film presents a convincing, entertaining and well-organized discussion of the role of chemical pollutants in our changing patterns of health and disease, and should help raise awareness of this critical issue. The interviews are engaging and informative, and animations help illustrate key concepts. In addition, a 52-minute version makes it ideal for a classroom setting...Students may react strongly to this film, at once energized and concerned."
Kathryn Hicks, University of Memphis, Anthropology Review Database

"What would you do if you knew how many toxins were in your body?...Filmmaker Carole Poliquin learns that her blood contains 110 toxins. So she sets out to visit communities exposed to pollution...and realizes she is one of the lucky ones."
Yes! Magazine

"Important...for Canadians concerned about public health and the environment. Note that these are border towns, and chemicals show no respect for international boundaries."
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DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
DVD version contains 88- and 52- minute versions of the film; eight additional interview clips with John Peterson Myers, Tyrone Hayes, Michael Gilbertson, Ron Plain, James Brophy, Nancy Monteiro Riviere, Chiu-Wing Lam, Sheila Watt-Cloutier; SDH Captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing; and chapter selection.

The Film's Website

Awards and Festivals
Best Documentary, Big Muddy Film Festival
Prix Enviro, Festival de films de Portneuf sur l'environnement, Canada
Nature & Environment Film Festival, Grenoble, France
Festival de Cinéma des 3 Amériques, Canada
Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois
Official Competition, FIGRA, France
RIDM 2007 - Recontres internationale du documentaire de Montréal
Taos Mountain Film Festival
Festival de Cine Ambiental Voces, Colombia
Blue Planet Film Festival

Air Pollution
Business Practices
Canadian Studies
Environmental Ethics
Environmental Justice
Life Science
Reproductive Rights

Toxic Chemicals

Related Titles

The cost of our global addiction to devices is revealed in the struggle of a courageous Chinese activist helping young workers poisoned while making smartphones.

Toxic Bust
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Blue Vinyl
Filmmakers Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold use humor and chutzpah in their search for the environmental truth about vinyl.

An unflinching examination of the big business of bottled water.

Addicted to Plastic
Reveals the history and worldwide scope of plastics pollution, investigates its toxicity and explores solutions.

In Our Own Backyard
Lois Gibbs brilliantly leads her fellow residents in Love Canal in this classic documentary on the nation's first encounter with toxic waste.

Tar Creek
Tells the incredible story of the Tar Creek Superfund site in NE Oklahoma and the massive and deadly remains left by the lead and zinc mines there.

Swim for the River
The story of the Hudson, and the battle to save it, are told as Chris Swain swims the entire length of the river.

Native peoples pay the consequences of uranium mining.

In Our Own Backyards
How does uranium mining impact the land and the health of people?

Up Close and Toxic
Examines the alarming levels of pollutants inside our homes and suggests ways to reduce them.

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