A note from Nine Naturals founder, Grace: When I met Penelope Jagessar Chaffer, she was finalizing edits on her documentary Toxic Baby and I was pregnant with my daughter and working on the launch of Nine Naturals. I was struck by Penelope’s unique gift for storytelling and breaking down complex scientific topics into easy-to-understand concepts. We became fast friends as ambitious, entrepreneurial women with the goal of educating women about the potential dangers of toxins. Through Penelope’s new Toxic Baby app, families will have access to her amazing documentary that interviews the leading scientists in the field of environmental toxins as well as invaluable resources for making smarter consumer choices. We hope you can find ways to support Penelope and the Toxic Baby App by sharing the Kickstarter campaign with your friends and family and providing your donations. Learn more about Toxic Baby in Penelope’s own words:
I was pregnant with my first child and living in London ten years ago when I discovered that the number one preservative used in baby care products, parabens, is estrogenic and had been found intact in breast cancer tumors. Initially I found it hard to believe this could be true but when I saw the science study, I was absolutely horrified that this was happening and shocked that I didn’t know anything about it. I soon realized that parabens were the tip of the iceberg and that there were literally thousands of chemicals that scientists and doctors were alarmed about.
As the first black, female director to be nominated for a British Academy Award, I decided that the best thing I could do was to make a ﬁlm that features the science and shows how chemicals in the environment have the ability to affect the health and development of babies and children. My goal was to take the science out of the lab and put into the hands of parents and caregivers. It became imperative to me to illustrate how we are raising the most polluted generation of kids in the history of our planet, what the implications are for that pollution in terms of chronic childhood diseases, disorders and health conditions and all the amazing ways that we can actually address this. Because (and this is the bit that often gets lost) there are amazing companies and people innovating in this space and there is so much that we can do. We can only act however if we know that we need to.
Once I made and started screening the ﬁlm, it became clear that people wanted more information and our Q&A’s lasted well into the night. However, the limitations of the documentary format meant that there is only so much factual information a brain could take in before it feels like shutting down. At the same time, I did a TED Talk about toxic chemicals and children (I hold the record as the most pregnant woman to ever give a TED!) and I started getting an avalanche of emails about the issue. This drive to all the research and information I had to parents directly led to the idea of the interactive app. Having done several big interactive projects for the BBC, it occurred to me that as the filmmaker I needed to give the viewer a way to access the ﬁlm and video material in a way that was conducive to their busy 20th century lives. It also felt cool to do in a totally, new innovative way. In doing so, Toxic Baby became the world’s first interactive documentary app for the iPad.
The app is divided into 5 keys areas:
- Watch the ﬁlm in its entirety, like any other ﬁlm as a whole
- Watch the ﬁlm and interacting with it to access extra animations, graphics, interviews and stories
- Check out the video index, which lists everything from autism to zinc as a moving image directory
- Check out the legislative section
- Check out the maps aspect, which lists known toxicity hotspots throughout the country
This Kickstarter campaign seeks to fund the building of the app and which such an innovative and disruptive hybrid model. It is only through the Kickstarter that this app will be funded. Watch the video below to find out more:
Penelope Jagessar Chaffer is a multi award winning documentary filmmaker, writer, feminist, children’s environmental health advocate and global environmentalist. She is the first black, female director to be nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award and was born in London, of Trinidadian parentage. She has won over 10 awards for her work with the BBC and Channel 4, including 5 gold national and international Promax awards and is a double BAFTA, Royal Television Society and Grierson (British Documentary Awards) nominee. The Observer newspaper in Britain has called her work “a joy to watch.” Penelope is a TED speaker and has been named one of the top 100 Green Online Influencers and is the Healthy Child Healthy World “Mom On A Mission.”