Creative Commons Licence


Contributed date

November 25, 2018 - 12:49pm

Critical Commentary

Design Statement: We present this visualization of “Incorporating POC into Canary Activism” for the following reasons:

  • It represents naiveté on our part around the visualization endeavor, a kind of add color and stir approach, rather than the commissioning of an art visualization that would highlight the types of toxicant concerns affecting POC in southern California--for example, occupational exposures of Asian salon workers to hazardous chemicals and contamination of homes and soil by lead in the communities of Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Commerce, Bell, Huntington Park and Maywood by the Exide Plant in Vernon (Johnson et al 2017; Porter 2009).


  • It represents naiveté on our part around what constituted the “low hanging fruit” in tackling the under-regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).  The sources of EDCs (which include persistent organic chemicals, flame retardants, pesticides, dioxins, plasticizers, industrial chemicals) are myriad. We thought it surprising, and little known, that hormone disruptors comprise common bath and beauty products, as well as household cleaners whose fresh (masking) scent are advertised heavily to odor-fearing consumers.  Given that accessory fragrances added to body care products and detergents are not essential to their function, we mistakenly assumed that the general population would only need to be made aware of the potential hazards in “fragranced” products. That is, because of a legal loophole involving the protection of intellectual property and “trade secrets,” manufacturers are not obligated to disclose the precise recipe of chemicals comprising the aroma of synthetic scents, whether they are hazardous or not.


  • It remains haunted by an image that we passed over. Munson created additional illustrations that CSW opted not to use, including a drawing of two Latinx individuals in Day of the Dead-inspired skull and animal masks standing within an indoor space with scents wafting from a lit candle in the shape of a skull--the source of potential toxicants.  There is in these three drawings selected for visualization the alter-image (or negative space drawing) of what wasn’t selected.

Cite as

Peggy Munson, "CanariesByPeggyMunson", contributed by Rachel Lee and Alexandra Apolloni, Center for Ethnography, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 25 November 2018, accessed 4 December 2021.