Solving Pollution Problems, Saving Lives


April 2010


Blacksmith Institute identifies and cleans up the world's worst polluted places, where children are most at risk from death, disease and disability.

Pollution is a global public health crisis. Some experts estimate that exposure to pollution causes 40% of deaths annually.

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Health and Pollution Fund

Global Inventory Project - Database of the World's Worst Pollluted Places

Lead Poisoning and Car Batteries

Artisanal Gold Mining (Mercury Poisoning)

World's Worst Polluted Places Reports




Environmental Toxins - The Perils of Plastic

Monsoons Send Asian Pollution Around the World

Pollution Threatening Casablanca

China Cracks Down on Heavy Metal Pollution

Pollution Speeds Up Snow Melt in Europe, Asia




"This is a finite problem. There are a finite number of toxic hotspots around the world. We just have to find them and clean them. We can end life-threatening pollution in our lifetime."

-- Richard Fuller, founder, Blacksmith Institute.

Pollution that kills, poisons and cripples has already been eliminated in much of the developed world.  Now Blacksmith is leading the fight to end it in developing countries.

  • Identify: Blacksmith is building the world's first comprehensive global inventory of polluted sites to identify hotspots and rank them in order of priority for cleanup. Blacksmith investigators are currently crisscrossing the globe to assess some 3000 sites in more than 60 countries.
  • Implement: Blacksmith is working to create the Health and Pollution Fund - a proposed $500 million public health fund to support the cleanup of the world's worst polluted places identified by the global inventory. Cleanup is scheduled to begin under the HPF in 2010.

 2009 REPORT


Download the 2009 Blacksmith report:  World's Worst Polluted Places: 12 Cases of Cleanup and Success. Read 12 pinpricks of light and other news reports.




Nominate a Polluted Site


Earth Day 2010: 40 Years On In The U.S., Day 1 In The Developing World.

"On the first Earth Day, celebrated 40 years ago this month, the U.S. was a poisoned nation," wrote Time magazine's Bryan Walsh in his Earth Day piece The Perils of Plastic.  Air and water pollution was rampant, DDT was still in use, and landmark federal actions were still to come.

Today, the U.S. is a much cleaner country. But in the developing world, it is still Day 1 in the fight for a toxic-free environment.

[Watch our special Earth Day video - The Story of Lead - below]

In many poor countries, resources are just not there to do real cleanup and families live everyday with amounts of toxins that are unacceptable in the West. There is still unregulated dumping, little awareness of pollution issues, and a continuing struggle between economic development and environmental concerns.

As we celebrate Earth Day's 40th anniversary, let us make an effort to push cleanup in the developing world past the Day 1 stage.

In the next few weeks, we will be launching a small campaign, which subscribers to our newsletter will receive.  We hope you will be moved to learn and do more to help.  Thank you.

-- Richard Fuller, President, Blacksmith Institute

 In This Issue:


THE STORY OF LEAD - A Video Tour Through Four Sites

The Story Of Lead - Youtube

This special Earth Day video documents lead poisoning, one of the world's worst pollution problems, and cleanup in 4 sites around the world.  The Story of Lead takes you to Haina in the Dominican Republic, where almost the entire population shows signs of lead poisoning, to Senegal, where the contamination is killing children, to Rudnaya Pristan, where a massive cleanup effort is targeting schools and playgrounds, and to Mexico, where potters are being persuaded to switch from traditional lead-based glazes, which are poisoning their families. 


GHANA: Report and Video from the Agbogbloshie E-Wasteland

GHANA: Report and Video from the Agbogbloshie E-Wasteland

A Blacksmith team just returned from Ghana, where they conducted new assessments of the notorious Agbogbloshie market--a huge food and recyclers market in Central Accra with a big e-waste problem.  Blacksmith Technical Advisory Board member Jack Caravanos brought along two of his graduate students from CUNY's School of Public Health to take some air samples.  The following is an extract of Jack's first-hand account of what he saw. 

"...all the reports you may have read about this place is true. Where else in the world can you find people dismantling computers, automobile engines, refrigerators and the like mixed in with a wholesale vegetable market, dozens of food vendors, a large mosque and the infamous copper wire burning site, which produces large volumes of toxic black smoke that lingers in the air all day.  All this is happening in what appears to be a random, chaotic structure (while there are no street signs, vendor signs or directory, it is actually quite well organized and profitable to the vendors.)"

Read his entire report and watch the video at The Pollution Blog.