CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 4 . . . . October 15, 1999
Plumbum Conundrum: Weighing the Health Risks of Toxic Substances in the Environment.
Michael Fukushima (Director). David Verrall (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: The National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
11 min., 26 sec., VHS, $29.95.
Order Number: C9196 139.
Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Liz Greenaway.
This innovative video looks at the historical uses of lead as well as the benefits and risks
associated with its use today. An angry teenager house-hunting with her mother is the catalyst,
exposing lead risks in a charming but run-down house, while the wily salesman tries to expound
the virtues of lead. It is the mother who balances these views, pointing out the benefits today of
using lead safely.
The animation is stylized and visually arresting, though at times distracting, as is the staccato
narration. I would have liked a slightly more straightforward presentation of the exact nature of
risks caused by the present and past uses of lead in our environment. This eleven minute video is
an excellent starting point for discussion. The included user's guide suggests further discussion
topics and provides addresses where additional information can be obtained. But, without follow-up, the video could be more frightening than informative.
Liz Greenaway is a former bookseller living in Kingston ON.
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