Author: Blacksmith Institute, Global Alliance on Health and Pollution
Lead Agency: Blacksmith Institute
Description: The Poisoned Poor documents, prepared by the GAHP, summarizes key issues about the people most affected by toxic pollution. Toxic chemicals from industry and mining affect the health of hundreds of millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. Heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, radionuclides and other toxic substances can be found at dangerous levels at thousands of sites around the world, in drinking water, soil, air and food. These chemicals (lead, mercury, chromium, and cadmium, etc.) affect local populations in the poorest towns and neighborhoods, especially children.
A recent study of more than 3,000 toxic sites, funded by the World Bank, European Commission and Asian Development Bank, shows that as many as 200 million people may be affected. A detailed analysis of 373 contaminated sites in India, Indonesia and the Philippines calculated that the amount of disease caused by toxic exposures was similar to that of malaria or outdoor air pollution in those three countries. The impact of these diseases, and the commensurate loss in economic capacity, is enormous.