Thursday, 6 March 2008
Proposal 2. Pollution
Chemicals present in modern life, from well-known toxin to newer compounds with unknown effects, are building up in our bodies and sometimes staying there for years. People can pick up chemicals from food, drink, the air you breathe and all the products that touch your skin. Pollutants like mercury, pesticides or flame retardants, chemicals added for safety to just any product that can burn, can be found in mattresses, carpets, televisions and cars. Test to learn what substances build up in a typical Western individual over a lifetime and where they might come from, are too expensive for most people and only a few labs have the technical expertise to detect the trace amounts involved. In large doses some of these substances have horrific effects, but most toxicologists who have ties to the chemical industry insist that small concentration of chemical inside us are mostly nothing to worry about. Even though many health statistics have been improving over the past few decades, some illnesses are rising mysteriously. From the early 1980s autism, leukemia, childhood brain cancer and birth defect has doubled. Some experts suspect a link to the man-made chemicals that pervade our food, water and air. The victims are often the poor and powerless, people who live close to dumps and work in the riskiest jobs.
From a visual point of view the possibilities to document this subject are endless. Images of women with breast cancer triggered from factories gathering in the streets for demonstrations, families cooking eggs that don't stick in the pan unaware of the potential negative consequences or kids in slums inhaling paint products that can reduce IQ and cause behavior problems, could be appealing, dramatic and meaningful at the same time to any given audience.