Toxic Pollution Shortens Lives By More Than a Decade

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. Continue reading

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

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. Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

Russia Leads the Most Poisonous Places on Earth

dzerzhinsk-factories[I have added more of the story in this post but the full article remains for subscribers only, sorry.]

By Stephen Leahy

Russia tops the list of the 10 most polluted places on the planet, while more investigation into Latin American and African pollution sites is needed, according to a U.S. environmental group.

Lead and other heavy metals, along with buried chemical weapons and radiation hazards from sites like Chernobyl in Ukraine, are the main sources of pollution affecting the health of 10 million people in different locations around the world.

empty-car-battery-casings-india-photo-by-blacksmith-institute-sml

“These extremely toxic areas are mostly unknown even in their own countries,” said Richard Fuller, director of the New York-based Blacksmith Institute.

Continue reading