On Monday, March 21, 2016, the Doyle Film & Culture Series co-sponsored a documentary screening of Stink! as part of the annual Environmental Film Festival. The screening was held in the ICC Auditorium, and drew a crowd of well over 100 attendees ranging from students, faculty, and staff. Stink!is directed by Jon Whelan and focuses on the regulation (and lack thereof) of the fragrance industry and the cost to consumers given the large uptick in chemicals. The documentary questioned the United States’ overall approach, which has bred a lack of regulation and increased secrecy around products. One result is that the United States has become a global “dumping ground” for toxic chemicals, while other countries are implementing a “precautionary or preventative” approach – to prove chemicals safe before use. The screening was followed by a panel and audience discussion, featuring Professor James Olsen (CNDLS and Philosophy) who teaches Environmental Ethics; Carol Day, Director of Health Education Services at Georgetown; Jasmina Bojic, Founder and Executive Director of the United Nations Association Film Festival; and Professor Edd Barrows (Biology), Director of the Center for the Environment. The conversation focused on what each person can do to contribute to awareness and activism related to this issue – from highlighting safe/unsafe products and urging companies to disclose information, to calling on the government to further regulate. Professor Olsen noted that it takes an average of 14 years for scientific discovery of harm to be followed by related policy changes. Many in the audience commended the importance of investigative journalism to spreading awareness.
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