Dark Side of the Chew

Dark Side of the Chew is a film that sees the director Andrew Nisker examine how the habit of chewing gum which has been around forever, impacts our culture, threatens our health, erodes our economic stability, and damages the environment.

Chewing gum is something that seems to attract millions of people from all around the globe. Gum itself is one of the most consumed products in the world but have you ever stopped to think about what is going on behind those sweetened or minty strips of chewing material? I imagine for many of you, like me the answer to this question is no. But not to fret, this film gives us a deep dive into the world of chewing gum and it’s various backstories, from its origins about 9,000 years ago, the boom seen in sales from marketing and advertising to the role this habit played in becoming a symbol of the American dream.

However, like most stories of success, there is a complex dark side and the reality is that chewing gum has had quite a negative impact on the environment and our health. Through a number of interviews with doctors, scientists, and various experts on the subject we hear of the dangers lurking in the form of plastics and sweeteners such as aspartame. Aspartame is a sweetener that has been tested in the laboratory and shown to be carcinogenic.

It is not just our health, the consumption of gum causes the second most common type of waste in the world. It is not very biodegradable and as such traces of this waste can be found everywhere from those white patches on the ground to the corners under a table. A lot of this litter can be put down to people just discarding chewing gum without any consideration for others, not to mention the cost involved in removing gum from our streets. So what is it about chewing gum that seems to have to world hooked?

Directed by: Andrew Nisker

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