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CBC's "Toxic Legacies"
examines health effects of pesticides

AIRDATE: THIS Wednesday, March 16, 2001
TIME: 9 P.M.

The Yaqui Valley is one of Mexico's largest agricultural areas, providing much of North America's fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also home to neighbouring towns in which children exhibit significant and disturbing neurological differences. CBC-TV's THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki investigates this phenomenon and its relevance for children across North America in Toxic Legacies, Wednesday, March 14 at 9 p.m.

U.S. anthropologist Elizabeth Guillette learned in 1993 about problems in the Yaqui Valley. As she has written in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the valley children are far behind those of the foothills in physical co-ordination, energy and learning capabilities. The only difference she observed was that pesticides have been used in the valley since the early 1950s, while in the foothills there is no agricultural industry and virtually no pesticide use.

Toxic Legacies follows Dr. Guillette as she meets with eminent laboratory scientists in her search for corroboration and possible solutions. Neurotoxicologist David Carpenter of the University of Albany says, "I have suspected for a long time that pesticides cause these effects, but no one has demonstrated it so convincingly."

Dr. Guillette also visits Halifax, North America's first major city to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides. "I don't think we have to throw our hands up and say it's hopeless. People are doing things," says Guillette.

One in six U.S. children suffers from such disorders as autism, aggression and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Could pesticide exposure be a major culprit? "I was shocked at the lack of science that exists on pesticides," remarks filmmaker John Ritchie, himself a father of two young children. "That's why making people aware of Elizabeth's study is so important."

Toxic Legacies is co-produced by THE NATURE OF THINGS, Force Four Entertainment and Discovery Health U.S.A. It is written and directed by John Ritchie and produced by Rob Bromley. John Grassie is executive producer of Discovery Health, and Toni Egger, director of development. Executive producer of THE NATURE OF THINGS is Michael Allder.

Source url:
The following is from:

John Ritchie
Senior Producer
Force Four Entertainment
310-1152 Mainland St.
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
V6B 4X2

Over a year in the making, "Toxic Legacies" airs in Canada March 14 on CBC's "Nature of Things" at 9pm, and on June 15 at 10pm on Discovery Health Channel in the United States. My crew and I travelled to Mexico last summer to follow the story of anthropologist Elizabeth Guillette, who discovered two communities of children who exhibit significant and disturbing neurological differences.

We also followed Dr. Guillette as she met with eminent laboratory scientists in her search for corroboration and possible solutions, and went with her to Halifax, North America's first major city to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides.

Photo imagery of the program can be found at Click on "television" under "Hi Res images" then choose "The Nature of Things" under "Current Affairs" and click go. "Toxic Legacies" photos are near the bottom.

For those of you outside of North America, please send an e-mail if you would like to receive a copy of the program.