past nominees

most washed-up: triclosan

Since Triclosan’s debut role over thirty years ago, the FDA has allowed him to star in personal-care products, but has yet to implement a rule book for this bad boy. Companies cast Triclosan in a vast array of products we use on our skin and in our mouths, and on our babies and kids, even though he builds up in our bodies and has been linked to harm. His ties to cancer, thyroid disruption, and antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” may have begun to impact his career.
Triclosan has played several roles as an antibacterial hero; fighting germs, mold and odor, but as it turns out, this so-called clean chemical plays dirty. His work has opened many doors for fellow bad actors, such as Dioxin, Methyl Triclosan and Chloroform.  Critics have found that the hype around Triclosan’s supposed ability to prevent illness isn’t fully warranted: Triclosan is no more effective than the timeless performers, Regular Soap and Water.

Actor: Kevin Carter. Photo by: Patricia Mateos Ballestero.

worst special effects: perchlorate

Perchlorate likes to get things started with a bang! She’s been typecast in action roles starring as an oxidizer in rocket fuel, explosives, airbags and fireworks. As ammonium perchlorate, she is also a major component of solid rocket fuel. Her performances as a bad actor chemical interfere with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism in mothers and negatively impacting proper childhood development such as decreased learning capability.

While no one denies Perchlorate’s ability to light up the sky and screen, her “special effects” aren’t contained…she’s made her way into the drinking water for tens of millions of Californians, and into the groundwater or soil of 43 states.

Actress: Denise Duffield. Photo by: Patricia Mateos Ballestero.

Learn more about Perchlorate.

worst replacement actor in a series: methyl iodide

>Methyl Iodide has been ready to unpack his bags in California, but has been kept off the set for his cancer-causing ways. Only recently he appeared on the scene as a soil fumigant, registered in the final days of the Bush administration for use as a pesticide. Prior to his agricultural debut, he was used in industrial processes and laboratory research settings where, among other uses, Methyl Iodide was employed to induce cancer.

His propensity to produce cancer has landed him a spot on California’s prestigious Proposition 65 List, and he’s associated with neurotoxic effects and thyroid disease. Methyl Iodide is currently taking method classes at the Ag Actors Warehouse and auditioning as Methyl Bromide’s understudy in California’s strawberry fields.

Actor: John Hale. Photo by: Patricia Mateos Ballestero.

Learn more about Methyl-iodide.

worst performance in a school drama: hexavalent chromium

Hexavalent Chromium, also known as Hex Chrome or Chrome 6, smashed onto the scene making his movie debut in 2000, playing the villain in the movie Erin Brockovich. His performances in industrial processes earned him a spot on California’s Proposition 65 List in December 2008 and the reputation of a hard hitting bad boy.

On high demand, Hex Chrome has touched the lives of many through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact around communities and schools. He boasts 2,208 appearances in monitored drinking water sources, and being taken in by more than 33 million Californians between 1998 and 2003. Hex Chrome is a known carcinogen and reproductive toxicant for both males and females, and holds the record for being the most toxic form of the element chromium. Hex Chrome has solidified his role as the go-to bad boy of our generation.”

ACTOR: Luis Lopez
PHOTO BY: Patricia Mateos Ballestero,

worst performance in a horror film: hydrofluoric acid

Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) recently starred in the movie Saw VI, in which he applied himself to melt body parts during a particularly memorable scene. Considered very difficult to work with, this diva of a compound is highly corrosive and has a history of destruction. HF stars in productions of high-octane gasoline, refrigerants, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, aluminum, plastics, electrical components, and fluorescent light bulbs.

Volatile and unpredictable, HF’s personal life has not been much better. His marriage woes were splashed all over the tabloids when his wife filed a restraining order against him after finding out that splashes of HF on the skin can be fatal. HF has also gained a reputation around town among the ladies as “Creepy-Crawler”– those who survive after HF inhalation often suffer lingering chronic lung disease.”

ACTOR: Joell Ulloa
PHOTO BY: Patricia Mateos Ballestero,

worst stripper performance: nmp

N-Methyl Pyrrolidone (NMP) is an industrial solvent used extensively in chemical processing, and now makes frequent appearances as a paint stripper and graffiti remover. NMP has been kicking around for decades – usually in supporting, character roles or as a ‘catalyst” in chemical mixtures whose other toxic ingredients got all the headlines.

In the 1990s, NMP made up 60% of certain photoresist mixtures used in the so-called ‘clean industry’ of semiconductor fabrication. NMP has recently come into his own as his reputation for reproductive and testicular toxicity has finally come out of the shadows. Currently, NMP is appearing as a graffiti remover.”

ACTOR: William Barker
PHOTO BY: Patricia Mateos Ballestero,

worst revival performance: nmp

Perfluorinated Compound (PFC) represents a family of industrial strength bad actors widely used as water, stain and grease repellant for food wrap, carpet, furniture, and clothing. She is best known for her role as PFOA, aka Teflon, which can be found flaking off of nonstick pans in kitchens across the country. Once you see her in action, it will be hard to shake her. That wonderous “nonstick” performance leaves a lasting impression by accumulating in your body and the environment, described by the US EPA as combining “persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity properties to an extraordinary degree”.

PFC has signed a mulitpicture deal to harm major organs such as ovaries, liver, kidney, spleen, thymus, thyroid, pituitary, testis, and she keeps coming back for repeat performances since no one actually knows how to get rid of her! She has no known biological or environmental breakdown mechanism, which is good for studio bosses and bad for us.”

ACTOR: Patricia Mateo Ballesteros
PHOTO BY: Patricia Mateos Ballestero,

worst intoxicating performance: nmp

Toluene had a starring role 30 years ago in the horror classic, “Fetal Solvent Syndrome,” in which her appearances to pregnant moms was linked to brain damage and various birth malformations. She’s an organic solvent and thus a common ingredient in many paints, glues, cleaning products, and even nail polish, and has a knack for targeting your central nervous system with her toxicity.

Toluene has made a career for herself as the best friend who turns on her costars in the third act. Her name has graced the Proposition 65 List for several decades, and when she combines with her favorite bad girl actors (formaldehyde and dibutyl-phthalate), she more than doubles her damage as a member of the “Toxic Trio”. She’s also a close chemical relative of benzene, known for decades to cause leukemia. With that kind of family legacy, her agents hope to keep Toluene working for years to come.”

ACTOR: Tova Fuller
PHOTO BY: Patricia Mateos Ballestero,