Ed Brown is the dad next door. He and his wife just welcomed their third child into this world, and he couldn't be prouder. But starting a family didn't happen without some heartache. After being born with a cataract and growing up with asthma, after seeing his wife suffer from Crohn's disease, and then more health complications, Brown started to wonder. "She had two miscarriages," Brown shared, "and that really propelled me to say 'could something be wrong with us and could something be wrong with the chemicals we’re putting into our bodies?' because were putting a lot into them every single day."
|Director Ed Brown|
Brown began using his camera and electronic media degree to interview top scientists, business leaders and environmental advocates. He started asking questions. His documentary film Unacceptable Levels lets the experts share scientific evidence that explains how so many toxic chemicals surround us that babies are born prepolluted with more than 200 toxins in their cord blood. The film's appeal is that Brown is simply himself, a concerned parent. He's asking the same questions that every family does when a loved one becomes ill. He finds hope in the increased interest that surrounds environmental health today, “It’s almost like a groundswell of energy that’s happening related to this idea of toxic chemicals inside our bodies and what they could be doing to us.”
When I met Brown at a Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Healthy Child Healthy World event in Chicago, he was just as straightforward as he seems in the trailer to his award-winning film. I asked him if he thinks most parents are getting the message about toxic chemicals in our environment. He admitted this is not an easy subject to communicate. “I think most parents are starting to build awareness. But
some people don’t believe something like this is happening, because it’s a
quiet violence that’s happening to us. It’s not something we can feel
necessarily, it’s not something we can smell, really (sometimes we can), it’s not
something we can really see happening to us."
Brown has also heard the argument that no one can afford a healthier lifestyle without as many toxic chemicals. "They feel like maybe it’s too expensive to
care about something like this and it’s
not." Based on his family's experience and what he's learned by researching for this film, Brown urges other parents to put the focus on their children and do what they can to avoid environmental toxins.