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Vermont Premiere Just a Week Away


Vermont Launches A Chemical Reaction

BURLINGTON, VT. — On the heels of a sellout premieres at the World Film Festival in Montreal and across the United States, the inspirational, yet controversial documentary A Chemical Reaction will come to Burlington for its Vermont premiere Nov. 18 for 7 and 9 p.m, screenings at the Main Street Landing.

Sponsored by four iconic Vermont companies, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, Green Mountain Coffee and Gardeners Supply, the film is free to the public, yet donations of $10 are suggested to support the film’s benefactor, a non-profit foundation known as

A feature-length film by Maine director Brett Plymale, A Chemical Reaction was described as “rousing” and awarded four stars by the film critics of the Montreal Gazette. The film has also drawn the ire of representatives from the billion-dollar chemical lawn care industry, who called the film’s executive producer and narrator, Paul Tukey, an “enviro-maniac” in a widespread email campaign launched Monday, Aug. 31 — the day of the film’s Montreal screening.

Tukey, a former HGTV host and the founder, appears frequently on screen during A Chemical Reaction while interviewing key figures in the anti-pesticide movement in Canada and the U.S. He said his goal in making the film is to create awareness of the health hazards and environmental degradation associated with lawn care chemicals.

“Canadian doctors and the Canadian courts have looked at the toxicity associated with chemical lawn care and have banned these products in much of that nation,” said Tukey, author of the Organic Lawn Care Manual (Storey 2007). “Our hope is that people watch the movie and say, ‘Canada has banned these products, why do we still use them in the United States?’ This issue is particularly relevant in Vermont, where chemical fertilizers and pesticides run off into the lakes, rivers and streams.”

Much of the movie’s story focuses on Dr. June Irwin, a dermatologist who spurred the first town in Canada to ban lawn and garden chemicals pesticides in 1991. When Hudson, Quebec, told the lawn care giant then known as ChemLawn that it couldn’t apply its synthetic chemical products within town borders, it set off a chain of high-profile court cases that culminated in the Canadian Supreme Court in 2001.

The town won the case in a landmark 9-0 decision and the chemical ban soon spread to the entire province of Quebec. Ontario enacted lawn chemical restrictions this past Earth Day and hundreds of other Canadian municipalities have also passed legislation.

For the past several years, Tukey has traveled across the United States and Canada in a relentless quest to tell the Hudson story and urge municipalities to follow suit. He said he is delighted by the support of the Burlington community; he and Plymale, the director, will both be in attendance and offer a question-and-answer session and book signing after each screening.

“The film’s themes of community activism, environmental stewardship and political independence will resonate very well in Vermont,” said Tukey. “I’m grateful to Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, Green Mountain Coffee and Gardeners Supply for making this possible. We hope this is just he first of many screenings and heightened awareness across the state.”

ABOUT SAFELAWNS.ORG: is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to reduction in the use of lawn and garden pesticides and synthetic chemical fertilizers. It has produced a series of high-profile campaigns since its inception in 2006.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Brett Plymale at 207-776-8962. To view a movie trailer, visit

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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