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(A related theme on chemicals and human beings is covered in a recent episode of The Nature of Things. The question: Are we fat because of man-made chemicals? New science links environmental chemicals to the global obesity epidemic.)
The ShakeUp is devoted to environmental and social justice issues and if you are a follower of the program you know how vast a landscape those topics form and how intertwined they are. On Friday we were all about the environment, specifically, the human made one in factories where plastics are created by blue collar workers working in a toxic milieu, and the focus for this program is women and cancer. We had two related themes to discuss: a documentary film, Pink Ribbon$ Inc., an examination of the campaigning around breast cancer to be screened on Thursday, Jan 27, and a conference to follow the next day: Are Women Automotive Plastic Workers at Risk?: Starting the Conversation.
This event, this “community conversation” is arranged by the National Network on Environments and Women’s Health (NNEWH) and the Canadian Auto Workers Union. As some background, as quoted in a chapter of an upcoming book by James T. Brophy, Margaret M. Keith, Robert DeMatteo, Michael Gilbertson, Andrew E. Watterson, and Matthias Beck, “According to Industry Canada (2010), plastics manufacturing generates $20.7 billion annually and employs about 91,000 people in Canada, primarily in small and medium sized firms with a low level of unionization. Forty-eight percent of plastics firms are located in Ontario where about 51,000 people are employed. The automotive component, which comprises about 18 percent of the overall industry, dominates plastics manufacturing in Essex County, which is generally regarded as the automotive capital of Canada.”
My in studio guests were Margaret Keith and Jim Brophy, both long time Windsor-based independent researchers and we talked about the Thursday film and the Friday conference as well as the overall environment in Windsor/Essex and the reality of living and working in an area where manufacturing and farming use many chemicals and materials toxic to human health.
The National Film Board of Canada film Pink Ribbon$ Inc. is presented by the Windsor International Film Festival on Thursday January 26 at 7PM at the Capitol Theatre with a 5$ admission at the door. Most importantly a discussion will follow featuring Patricia Noonan, Lori Dupont Inquest Action Group; Natalie Gierman, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region; Patricia Kearns – Breast Cancer Action Montreal
The one day seminar, Are Women Automotive Plastic Workers at Risk?: Starting the Conversation is not open to the general public but the results will be widely disseminated. View an important NNEWH report, Sex, Gender and Chemicals: Factoring Women into Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan.