If you haven't yet watched the HBO documentary "Toxic Hot Seat" it's a must watch. As a sucker for a good documentary esp late at night when I can't sleep, or after our 2 year old wakes me up, I put this one on hoping it would put me to sleep. In this case "Fire retardants" won out over ESPN re-runs… and while it’s about the least sexy topic I can think of (HBO always delivers in the info-tainment genre), I’m very glad I did as the issue of exposure to toxic chemicals that lead to cancer, is pretty d@#$ important. Let’s just put it this way… watching this documentary has me checking the tags on all mattresses, rugs and furniture in the Smith house.
The plot is familiar (like gasland 1 & 2., food matters, forks over knives, hot coffee etc) it will open your eyes to another giant issue and condenses a decade(s) long fight on this obscurely critical topic by giving the highlights, and tracking the story of the fight through a personal narrative. Per usual it pits the informed few (lead by Tony Stefani, a fire fighter who get cancer from “fire retardants” while fighting fires in San Fran: tragic ironic at it's worst and moms and families and justice seeking PhD's / politicians / non-profits committed to this cause) vs. the chemical industry and "status quo" politicians (funded of course by the chemical industry who benefit to the tune of $5B per year from the status quo). Very interesting sub-plot about "Citizens for Fire safety Institute" a phony front for the three biggest companies: Albermarle, Chemtura, & Israeli Chemical.... who, not surprisingly, were funding the political opposition.
Props to the Chicago Tribune: Particia Callahan, Sam Roe, and Michael Hawthorne for their investigative reporting "Playing with Fire" that nearly earned them a Pulitzer in 2013 and more importantly took the issue into the mainstream and helped change the law in California. Props to the good guy politicians who raised awareness to get this passed: Mark Leno, San Fran, Jerry Brown Cali Governor, Hannah Pingree Maine, Dick Durbin, IL