“The World’s Worst Pollution Problems” Assessing Health Risks at Hazardous Waste Sites report has just been releases and reveals that close to 125 million people are at risk from toxic pollution across 49 low to middle-income countries. Also, the report, for the first time estimates the total global burden of disease attributed to toxic pollution from industrial sites in these countries. Blacksmith Institute found that the public health impact of industrial pollutants, measured in DALYs, is the same or higher than some of the most dangerous diseases worldwide. Below is a comparison of the DALYs for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to the DALYs from industrial pollutants.
The substances included are lead, chromium, mercury, and asbestos. The Top Ten industrial sources are: lead-acid battery recycling, lead smelting, mining and ore processing, tanneries, industrial and municipal dump sites, industrial estates, artisanal gold mining, product and chemical manufacturing, and the dye industry.
The lancet editorial rightly call the international health community to become more active in tackling and addressing hazardous substance pollution to achieve healthy and sustainable development worldwide.