Documentaries

Noam Chomsky Stars in New Documentary About the Major Risks Humanity Faces From Pesticides

Jimmy Carter and the Dalai Lama help Chomsky uncover pesticide industry corruption.

Photo Credit: Player Piano Production

Did you know that American companies are legally permitted to manufacture dangerous pesticides for export—even after the chemicals have been banned in the U.S.? There are policies that create a "circle of poison"; toxic chemicals traveling around the world, ironically imported back to the U.S. through foodstuffs we eat. 

Circle of Poison, a groundbreaking documentary by Nick Capezzera, Evan Mascagni and Shannon Post, unveils the unrelenting corruption of this cycle. The film features interviews with Jimmy Carter, Vandana Shiva, Noam Chomsky, Patrick Leahy, and the Dalai Lama, as well as footage from India, Mexico, Argentina, Bhutan, and the United States, in order to illustrate the global impact of the pesticide trade and how communities are fighting back.

"A standard argument against a healthy environment and other regulations in the country or for export is that it's harmful to business, which of course it is," Noam Chomsky says in the film. "If business can kill people freely, it's a lot more profitable than if you have to pay attention to what you're producing and look at the effects on people, and so on."

Watch: Exclusive clip fromCircle of Poison:

"Major industries in this country... lead, asbestos, tobacco, have often succeeded for decades poisoning people quite consciously. They knew perfectly well that children are going to die of lead poisoning, but 'you gotta make profit,'" Chomsky continues.

"And they're right. It's a system where you're supposed to make profit... Like a CEO of a corporation is actually required by law to increase profit so they're doing exactly what they have to do and, well, if the population suffers, that's the cost of doing business. Although, by the time you get to export ... the domestic population has become organized enough and active enough so they're saying 'you can't kill us,'" says Chomsky. 

"We sought out to take on a political issue that people from all walks of life, regardless of political affiliation, could agree was an important one and that needs to be addressed," director Evan Mascagni told AlterNet. "I was blown away by the fact that we would allow companies to continue to manufacture and export products that those companies could not safely and legally sell to customers within the United States." 

Circle of Poison will be available for streaming and download this fall. The film's official release date is November 2.

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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