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#520#521#522#523 Episode #524 - Dispatches from The Chemical Civil War
(DDT, Bhopal and The US Cancer Industry)


Preventing cancer is costly, treating it is profitable ...

Sat 6 November 2010  Adam Curtis, Rachel Carson, Gary Cohen, Aquene Freechild, Donald Hassig, Emanuelle Schick-Garcia
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we continue looking at the toxic nature of the human separation from nature; we bring you 3 different pieces about the human engineering of toxic chemicals. First, an adaptation of Adam Curtis' BBC documentary Goodbye Mrs. Ant, on the rise and fall of the pesticide industry as purveyors of miracle cures, and how discovery of the pernicious effects of DDT lead to the growth of ecology and the environmentalist movement. Secondly, a 2009 interview with about the world's most fatal industrial chemical leak, the 1984 disaster in which a pesticide factory exploded in Bhopal. Finally, an interview with Emanuelle Schick-Garcia about her film, The Idiot Cycle, on how multinational chemical companies are both the world's biggest produce carcinogens and are intimately connected with the cancer treatment industry.
We start our first hour with a radio adaptation of the Adam Curtis documentary, Goodbye Mrs. Ant, which starts with the invention of DDT and its enthusiastic embrace in the 1940s as a miracle cure to the 'problem' of insect life. It looks at the rise of the pesticide industry and DDT in the 1950s, preventing crop failure and helping to eradicate malaria from the US. It looks at the fall of the domination of nature through science meme with the publishing of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and the gradual discovery of the fact that DDT persists and becomes concentrated as it ascends the food chain.

Our first hour concludes with a look at the circumstances surrounding the "Hiroshima of the chemical industry", the 1984 Bhopal Chemical leak, which immediately killed almost 10,000 people, and has since killed or permanently disabled tens of thousands more. The speakers are Gary Cohen, director of Healthcare without Harm and Aquene Freechild, US strategy coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. They point out that the disaster was predicted by those who had seen how the company had shut down safety systems in order to increase profitability, and question what it will take to create a world in which children are not born with cancer already in their body.

After concluding the interview on Bhopal, our second hour concludes with a minutes of an interview by Donald Hassig from Cancer Action Network on the topic of cancer and dioxins. He interviews Emanuelle Schick Garcia, writer and producer of The Idiot Cycle, a documentary which focuses on six major chemical companies (BASF, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and DuPont. The film explores the apparent contradictions surrounding the facts that whilst these companies are amongst the biggest world's biggest producers of carcinogens, they are also heavily invested in cancer treatment and in influencing public perception of the disease.
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