Dr. Ronald Harpelle has received a Northern Arts Grant from the Ontario Arts Council for a documentary film entitled Toxic Time Bomb, on the ongoing legacy of the production and use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
The film focuses on Elmira, Ontario, a picturesque farming community which was home to Uniroyal Chemical, a manufacturer of Agent Orange. During the Vietnam War the United States used the chemical to defoliate and expose transportation corridors to aerial strafing and bombardment. Over 2.5 million litres of the herbicide sprayed on the jungles and people of Vietnam was produced in Elmira.
Today, the legacy of Agent Orange haunts both the people of Vietnam and Elmira. In Vietnam children continue to be born with serious deformations and in Elmira, the poor disposal practices of the toxic waste associated with the manufacture of Agent Orange, has resulted in chemicals seeping into the aquifer, causing local water wells to close in 1990 and high levels of dioxins and furans in the local creek. Dr. Harpelle is working with French filmmaker Sylvie Jacquemin on a France/Canada co-production.