Directed by Andrew Nisker
This film about the devastating health effects of the herbicides 2,4 D, 2,4,5-T and TCDD (aka dioxin) is narrated by survivors of toxic exposures in Vietnam, Oregon, Ontario and New Plymouth New Zealand.
It begins with footage of US aircraft blanketing the jungles of Vietnam with Agent Orange, a jungle defoliant consisting mainly of dioxin. In most cases, the latter is manufactured by combining 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Among US GIs and Vietnamese civilians, extensive Agent Orange exposure led to epidemic levels of cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as three generations of birth defects. There is no safe level of dioxin exposure.
The film notes that New Zealand was one of the first countries to use dioxin extensively to clear brush in the late 1940s. It was manufactured right here in New Plymouth by the Dow subsidiary Ivan Watkins Dow. Up until 1987, IWD contaminated the air, water and people of the Paratutu area with with TCDD emissions, producing massive numbers of birth defects, miscarriages, crib deaths, brain and spinal tumors, sarcomas, lymphomas, prostate and respiratory cancers and multiple sclerosis, as well as neurodevelopmental (mainly autism, Asperger’s disorder, mental retardation and ADHD) problems. See New Zealand’s Love Canal
Dioxin was also used extensively throughout the US and Canada to keep roads, railroads and high voltage power lines free of trees and weeds. During the 1960s, Black Flag sold TCDD over-the-counter in garden shops.
Although 2,4,5-T and TCDD have since been banned in most industrialized countries, most still allow 2,4-D use in farms and in gardens despite its link to cancer.
*Herbicides 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)- and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T)
Film can be viewed free on Beamafilm.