Toxics and health: 8 documentaries you need to see


Courtesy of Allerair Industries

Powerful films provide information to keep your family safe

Most of us turn on the TV to relax after a busy day or to catch up on the day’s events. That is just fine, but if you haven’t discovered the power of well-made documentaries yet, give it a try.

Documentaries are nonfictional films that rely on personal experiences, interviews and other storytelling devices to educate or inform viewers about various topics. A good documentary presents the hard data in an easily flowing and often entertaining way, explaining numbers and trends so that viewers can follow along effortlessly.

We at AllerAir are most concerned with the toxic substances and chemicals in our everyday life that might affect our health and well-being, but we also know about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and prevention of disease. That is why we picked 8 documentaries that provide a glimpse into the hidden dangers in our world and possible steps to a healthier life. Most of these documentaries are available online or via streaming services such as Netflix.

The C Word (2016)

If you want a documentary that will make you laugh, cry and shake your head in astonishment, it’s this documentary. The C Word is cancer, naturally, and the film follows the stories of cancer survivor and filmmaker Meghan O’Hara as well as French neuroscientist Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, who use scientific data and personal experience to show how the four pillars of nutrition, exercise, eliminating toxins and stress management can help prevent the onset or spread of cancer. It also exposes the medical system’s failure to embrace preventive measures, opting instead for expensive treatments and medications. Watch it today if you can.

The Human Experiment (2013)

Taking on the world of unregulated chemicals in the US is not a small job, but this documentary narrated by Sean Penn dives right in, noting that thousands of chemicals in everyday products have not been tested and are considered innocent until proven guilty. Some have criticized the film as relying more on emotions than proven facts, and much has happened since its release in 2013, including last year’s Chemical Safety for the 21s Century Act, which in theory gives the EPA more room to test and control chemicals. Only time and studies will tell.

Stink! (2015)

Have you ever opened a new product and wondered what on earth that smell was all about? Filmmaker Jon Whelan certainly did and his efforts to get answers about the makeup of everyday products and fragrances as well as the many stone walls he encounters make for an entertaining documentary.

Toxic Soup (2010)

This documentary takes a broader look at everyday Americans as they are fighting to keep their air, blood and water safe from pollution. It’s about toxic chemicals in the water, the dangers of industrial chemical accidents, radioactive oil fields and the politics of pollution. According to the CDC, 148 industrial chemicals lurk in the blood of the average American. Gulp.

Chemerical (2009)

Watch this documentary to learn more about the chemicals in household cleaners, how they affect indoor air quality and turn a supposedly safe environment - the home - into a toxic one. Take a look at your own cleaning practices - maybe the film’s tips will make it easier to switch to healthier products.

Our Chemical Lives (2015)

The half-hour documentary brief is available on YouTube. It chronicles the rise of household chemicals after World War II, while exposing the possible dangers associated with our daily interactions with chemicals. It starts in the womb and in many cases it’s impossible to avoid exposure. But the film provides some tips and tricks to make our lives less chemical.

Under the Dome (2015)

This self-financed documentary by a Chinese TV journalist provides invaluable insight into the effects of air pollution in China, comparing the problem to other historical pollution hot-spots such as London and Los Angeles. The documentary is in Chinese with English subtitles. It’s an important look at a worldwide problem. See our recent blog post.

Dying to Have Known (2006)

Filmmaker Steve Kroschel wants to know the truth behind the Gerson Therapy, which has been touted as a cure for cancer but has long been suppressed and dismissed by the medical community. The interviewees include nutritional and agricultural experts, two surgeons, two patients who survived their cancers, as well as noted critics of the natural cancer cure.

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