By Lindsay Dahl
I had the opportunity to interview Dana Nachmann, one of the directors of an upcoming documentary called The Human Experiment. Below are Dana's candid answers on the upcoming film about toxic chemicals in our homes and products.
Q: Can you tell us the premise of the film?
The Human Experiment is about one of the biggest environmental disasters that most people have never even heard or thought much about. It’s about the thousands of chemicals that we all come into contact with everyday in our makeup, our electronics, our furniture… they’re in everything. Most of these chemicals have never been tested for their safety. Meanwhile, so many conditions are on the rise in both adults and children. This film explores the connection between chemicals and disease and reveals the massive forces that try to make sure people don’t know about this connection.
Q: What inspired you to make the Human Experiment?
I am a journalist and a mom I was assigned to do piece for NBC in 2009 about how to limit toxic chemicals in the home. It was through researching that story that I found out that most consumer products do not get tested for their safety before being put on the market. I thought this couldn’t really be true, but after looking into it I found out this was the shocking reality. I went through a complete freak out at first, which is what happens to most moms when they learn about this issue. I was worried about all of the ways my kids had been exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals because I was completely ignorant about this issue. I was pregnant with my third child and I realized that things in our family had to change and things in our country had to change. That’s why I wanted to make this movie to turn that fear into empowerment, not just for me but for all the moms and dads who would one day be able to watch the film and help turn this issue around once and for all.
Q: Why do you think these issues are so important?
One of the doctors we interviewed for this film had the most amazing quote that I think really hits the nail on the head. She said, “Information that’s only held by some people only empowers some people. So it may be that a producer only knows what’s in their product and they want to vouch that it’s safe but if the public and the government and if scientists can’t see what’s in the product and don’t have any information about its safety, then that doesn’t give me much assurance.” That’s why I think we as a society have to demand that we know what we’re buying, what we’re exposing our family to. I think we need to ensure that these products are safe and I hope that this film helps to make this happen. We hope that all the amazing organizations like Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families can use the film to show people why this issue needs to change now.
Q: What was the most fun part of making the film?
I have always enjoyed rallying around a cause that I believe in. But as I got older, I got more involved in my career and being a mom I found it difficult to find the time to really rally behind so many of the causes that I think need attention. So, working on this film enabled me to combine my work, my activism and my parenting. I really feel that this film is important for my family as well as for the country. The Human Experiment is a battle cry that I’ve wanted to sound for quite a long time. It’s so much fun to be able to fight for such an important cause.
Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned while making this film?
I think that my answer to this will make me seem naive but I’m going to answer honestly anyway. I am so surprised that industry is battling so hard against many of the hard evidence that points to the fact that these chemicals are hurting us and our children. I assumed when I started this that since the issue and the science was really just emerging that once it came to light companies would do the right thing and start to move in the direction of safer alternatives. But I’ve found just the opposite, that companies (for the most part, not all!) are fighting tooth and nail to keep the status quo with regard to what’s in their chemicals and they are trying to make sure the public doesn’t find out what’s really in their products and what diseases and conditions they can cause.
Q: What do we want people to get out of the movie?
We hope The Human Experiment inspires people to join your national movement around the safety of chemicals. We’re finishing up the movie now so before it comes out we would love people to share the trailer and create excitement for the film’s release next year. We want to get the word out that once and for all we are going to elevate this issue to the national level. We need immediate action from all of us so we can protect our children, and their children, and their children. It’s evident that if we don’t act on this, companies will continue working in the easiest way possible and that means that they won’t test their chemicals for safety and they won’t switch out dangerous chemicals with safer once. We want our health and safety to be of concern to companies, not just their bottom line.
You can watch the trailer here:
This is so good. Thank you so much for making this. I'm going to be posting it on my blog http://the-labyrinth.com where I blog about living a 'normal' life, and going to Uni with chemical sensitivities. I've had this for 9 years; for five of them I lived in isolation and, luckily, I recovered. Only to resume a normal life and now, I'm sicker than ever. It's so obvious that chemicals can cause so many problems; and its so obvious that letting companies flood the market with them, only to remove them when we get sick is just plain wrong...Posted by: Michellina Van Loder | Jan 16, 2013 4:57:44 AM