What do neoprene wetsuits have to do with Cancer Alley?
The global wetsuit industry is valued at around $2.8 Billion USD.
"The vast majority of wetsuits on sale today are made of a synthetic rubber called Neoprene. Neoprene – the commercial name for chloroprene rubber – is the product of a toxic, carcinogenic chemical process.
There is only one chloroprene plant in the US. It is owned by Japanese chemical company Denka and lies in the predominantly black, low income town of Reserve, Louisiana – in the heart of an area known as Cancer Alley. Rising from the site of a former plantation, the Denka chloroprene plant casts a long shadow over St John’s Parish.
No home in the community around the plant has been untouched by cancer. It has the highest cancer risk in the USA – 50 TIMES the national average. The EPA acknowledges the high cancer risk is due to chloroprene emissions from the plant."
In their forthcoming film The Big Sea, Lewis Arnold and Chris Nelson take us to Cancer Alley in Louisiana to hear from local activists who have spent decades fighting for the health and safety of their community.
The Big Sea is an exploration of the toxic nature of wetsuits, the true human cost of Neoprene production and surfing’s links to Cancer Alley.
Learn more: TheBigSea.org
Sound Engineer: Ben Alexander
Theme song: Shannon Sol Carroll
Additional music by Dave & Ben
Join the conversation: @Waterpeoplepodcast