Stephen Leahy, International Environmental Journalist

Discovering Global Environmental Interconnections

Posts Tagged ‘Blacksmith Institute

Pollution as big a health problem as malaria or TB, finds report

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Haina, Dominican Republic - Children are developmentally impaired as a result of lead poisoning

Haina, Dominican Republic – Children are developmentally impaired as a result of lead poisoning

Industrial pollutants harm the health of 125 million people,

many of whom live in the developing world and work in mining

Stephen Leahy

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 24 October 2012 12.30 BST

Waste from mining, lead smelters, industrial dumps and other toxic sites affects the health of an estimated 125 million people in 49 low- and middle-income countries. This unrecognised health burden is on the scale of malaria or tuberculosis (TB), a new report has found.

This year’s World’s worst pollution problems (pdf) report was published on Tuesday by the Blacksmith Institute in partnership with Green Cross Switzerland. It documents, for the first time, the public health impact of industrial pollutants – lead, mercury, chromium, radionuclides and pesticides – in the air, water and soil of developing countries.

“This is an extremely conservative estimate,” said Bret Ericson of the Blacksmith Institute, a small international NGO based in New York City. “We’ve investigated 2,600 toxic sites in the last four years, [but] we know there are far more.”

The US has an estimated 100,000-300,000 toxic sites, mainly factories or industrial areas, but toxic sites in the low- and middle-income countries assessed in the report are often in residential areas. “We see a lot of disease when we go into these communities,” said Ericson. “But we were surprised the health burden was so high – as much as malaria.”

Click to read full story:  Pollution as big a health problem as malaria or TB, finds report | Global development | guardian.co.uk.

Toxic Pollution Shortens Lives By More Than a Decade

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Haina, Dominican Republic - Children are developmentally impaired as a result of lead poisoning

Toxins and pollutants are major cause of illness

100 Million affected by 2000 toxic sites

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Nov 14, 2011 (IPS)

Toxic pollution affects the health of more than 100 million people, shortening their productive life spans by an astonishing 12.7 years on average.

It is a common misperception that disease is responsible for most illness, when in fact toxins and pollutants in the environment are a major source of illness and reduced life spans globally.

Unlike diseases, toxins and pollutants like lead, mercury, chromium, radionuclides and pesticides were created by humans and are often improperly disposed of in a classic example of fouling our own nests.

“To be honest, we were astonished the number was so large,” said Bret Ericson of the Blacksmith Institute, a small international NGO that released its annual report “World’s Worst Pollution Problems Report 2011″ last week.

At least 100 million people are affected based on assessments of 2,000 toxic sites in 47 countries. Most of these sites are right inside villages and towns – all are close to people.

“There are thousands more sites out there,” Ericson told IPS. Read the rest of this entry »

100 Million Suffering in World’s Toxic Hotspots – 1% of Wall Street Bonuses Would End This In a Year

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Millions of kids are condemned to die or suffer severe brain damage because there is no money to clean up toxic sites and neighborhoods. One or two billion dollars would solve the problem permanently but health advocates have to beg and plead to get maybe $20-$30 million. Wall Street’s 2010 bonus and salaries are estimated to total a record-breaking $144 billion for just 36 firms according to Wall Street Journal.

Don’t you think they could donate 1 per cent of their ‘earnings’? — Stephen

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Nov 11, 2010 (IPS)

One of the world’s biggest health threats is also one of the least recognised – more than 100 million people who literally breathe and eat toxic pollutants like lead, mercury, chromium every day, according to the first-ever detailed assessment.

By contrast, global attention and billions of dollars are focused on AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which affect comparable numbers of people.

“Toxic pollution has been under the radar screen of most governments for some time,” said Stephan Robinson of Green Cross Switzerland, a group focused on environmental health, and co-author of the assessment titled “World’s Worst Pollution Problems Report 2010″.

“These pollution problems can be dealt with affordably and effectively,” Robinson told IPS.

Past clean-up projects designed by the groups range from the very low-tech, low-cost to more technical engineering projects involving soil removal at playgrounds and groundwater remediation, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Top Ten Worst Pollution Problems That Kill Millions – Including Ones You’ve Never Heard Of

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By Stephen Leahychromium-a-carcinogenic-commonly-used-in-the-tanning-industry-noraiakheda-kanpur-india-photo-by-blacksmith-institute-sml

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Oct 23 (IPS)

Gold mining and recycling car batteries are two of the world’s Top 10 most dangerous pollution problems, and the least known, according a new report.

The health of hundreds of millions of people is affected and millions die because of preventable pollution problems like toxic waste, air pollution, ground and surface water contamination, metal smelting and processing, used car battery recycling and artisanal gold mining, the “Top Ten” report found.

“The global health burden from pollution is astonishing, and mainly affects women and children,” said Richard Fuller, director of the New York- based Blacksmith Institute, a independent environmental group that released the list Tuesday in partnership with Green Cross Switzerland.

“The world community needs to wake up to this fact,” Fuller told IPS.

Read the rest of this entry »

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