New Report: Pollution As Big A Threat As Malaria, Top 10 Toxic Industries Identified
Sept/Oct. 2012
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The 2012 World's Worst Pollution Problems Report Reveals Impact Across 49 Countries

The health impact of pollution is the same or higher than some of the most dangerous diseases worldwide, like malaria and TB, according to the 2012 World's Worst Pollution Problems report just released by Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland.

Using data from 49 countries, the new report paints the first global picture of the true extent of pollution's toll.

"This report is crucial because it points out that toxic pollution causes as much death and disability as diseases like malaria and tuberculosis," says Richard Fuller, President of Blacksmith Institute.

"Until now, the problem of pollution has not received as much attention as these other  global health threats because there has been very little data. This report will hopefully change all that."

In last year's report, the Blacksmith team began to attempt to put a figure on pollution's toll by calculating the disease burden of individual contaminated sites. Building on that, this year's report calculates the health impact of pollution at contaminated sites in over 49 countries. The calculations reveal the impact of pollution in Disability Adjusted Life Years, or DALYs, which capture the total number of life years lost from early death as well as any reduction in quality of life resulting from disease.  (see the graphic below from wikipedia for more info on DALYs)

DALY graphic 2

Here is a comparison of the DALYs for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to the DALYs from industrial pollutants listed in the 2012 World's Worst Pollution Problems report:

Industrial Pollutants 17,147,600
Tuberculosis 25,041,000
HIV/AIDS 28,933,000
Malaria 14,252,000

The report also lists the Top Ten Toxic Industries responsible for some of the world's worst pollution problems. As in the previous report, the 2012 report finds that contrary to popular belief, most instances of toxic pollution result from poorly regulated, locally owned small- and medium-scale operations, rather than large multinational corporations. The solutions suggested in the report therefore take into account the need for cleanup as well as preserving livelihoods. 

Click here for a slideshow of the Top Ten Toxic Industries:

Rank Industry DALYs
1 Lead-Acid Battery Recycling  4,800,000
2 Lead Smelting 2,600,000
3 Mining and Ore Processing  2,521,600
4 Tannery Operations  1,930,000
5 Industrial/Municipal Dump Sites  1,234,000
6 Industrial Estates 1,060,000
7 Artisanal Gold Mining  1,021,000
8 Product Manufacturing  786,000
9 Chemical Manufacturing  765,000
10 Dye Industry 430,000

The 2012 World's Worst Pollution Problems report is the latest in a series of pollution reports released annually since 2006 that document the state of the world’s worst polluted places and pollution problems. Read the reports at

In the News: The 2012 World's Worst Pollution Problems Report 

Click here for complete coverage. Here are some highlights:
Guardian        Huff PostAtlantic

Thestar    ENS

Thank You! Blacksmith's Annual Golf Benefit Raises Thousands for Pollution Cleanup

Golf image 2Did you know that one day of golf can change someone's life?  It can if you played at one of our annual golf benefits.

This year, we broke the record for the amount of funds raised at the event. As a result, we can clean up even more polluted places this year. Thank you for your support. 
Blacksmith Institute works in some of the world's worst polluted places to solve
pollution problems
and clean up contaminated sites in order to save lives.
Blacksmith is currently engaged in over 40 projects in 19 countries.

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