I'm somewhat uncomfortable admitting, and yet will anyway, that images like this remind me that I have much more in common with the purchasers of a service like this than I do with the working people who end up poisoned by mercury or whatever. I live in Southern California, so I know I'm exposed to all sorts of horrific pollution (in the air, surely in the water and soil too, this having been the center of aerospace research and industry for the length of the Cold War). That said, I associate pollution with preventative regulation and public-sponsored, sometimes even public-executed, cleanup efforts (think Superfund). Thinking of this Peruvian example, I'm reminded that Latin Americans, especially poor workers out in Amazonia, are living lifes much closer to the utopian fantasies of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. For them, a Swiss pollution clean-up company might be the closest thing they'll see in their lifetimes to the work the E.P.A. does here in the U.S. That's abhorent to me as a beneficiary of state services here. But I'm also exposed to the infrastuctures which do arise in a neoliberal setting. I'd call this level of regulation and caretaking negligent and minimal, but at the same time, these services are more than nothing. Rand Paul would likely look at this image and conclude that corporate welfare does function. These companies do clean up after themselves because the total destruction of the environment would constitute a risk to their investments and their future.
Voyeur, out of context, questioning.
This image forces the viewer to asses themselves so as to ascertain whether or not they are "at risk of infection." It creates a general sense of being threatened. The faces have been cut out, which might make some more inclined to imagen themselves or their loved ones as one of the individuals being depicted. However, it is also likely quite othering for many viewers who are not cisgendered, heterosexual, white, and looking to conform to hegemonic conceptions of what constitutes "family."
This set of images incite an intuitive and emotional response. Perhaps the power of these images lies on the fact that, when presented together, it embodies the ways in which the research sphere and public alike have racialized the victims of toxicity. This visualization denote how these institutional images of this sort have always been problematic. As a non-u.s citizen who was not born in North America, I would like to know more about how regional prejudices and focuses infleunce these forms.
This image interpellates me as not only a toxic subject, but as someone who contributes to toxicity. The perfume that I potentially wear, the hair products at my hair salon, or even my lotion can cause chemical sensitivity in people around me. In particular, those who lack access to healthcare and are service workers tend to bear the ramifications of our actions.
Lead poisoning and exposure can leave layers of uncertainty in the wake. My twin babies were exposed to lead at our previous home in Ohio. One of them experienced acute toxicity which can potentially disrupt her cognitively for life. We were poor renters, so in hindsight and in lew of Flint, it is not suprising.
To your point about the visibility of toxicity, my familial experience points to the stigma attached to percieving certain populations as risky. For instance, in my hometown, because lead exposure was so often tied to poverty, being seen at the lead clinic was stigmatized-in with going on SNAP and going to the pediatric clinic for basic care. Exposure became another way of being made legibly marginal.
I'm interpellated as a consumer. I feel this way because the first thing I thought of was those United Color of Benneton ads that have been widely analyzed and critiqued. Arraying and framing "diversity" like this -- framed collectively, and framed individually, where each aimge becomes a "type," individual differences neverhteless reflecting some "species" (race) identity - makes it safe for consumption. Fifty shades of gray, but they're all unified in or by their grayness - buy one now! But this capitalist logic disguises its toxic effect on difference...
As a mom of elementary and middle school children
Less the image and more the critical commentary interpellated me as a woman/feminist: the details re the gendered division of labor in Madre Del Dios into miners and sex workers was artfully drawn out vis-a-vis the imagery on the bottle. The image itself first hailed me as a drinker of beverages from bottles; only the critical commentary helped hail me as a thinker on topics re (metal/mercury) toxicity's re sexualization/eroticism of mortal danger and risk and the relation to gendered labor forms in the region.