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    Solving Pollution Problems, Saving Lives  
       
       
       
 
     
 

June 2010

 
 

Toxic pollution is a global public health crisis affecting over 100 million people in the developing world, especially children.

Blacksmith Institute works in some of the world's worst polluted places, sharing resources and expertise with local groups and agencies to solve pollution problems and clean up polluted communities, one site at a time.

Blacksmith is currently engaged in over 40 projects in 19 countries.

 
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KEY PROGRAMS

 
 

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

 
     
 

ENDING POLLUTION

 
 

"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.

Life-threatening pollution 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, where lives are at risk. Once identified, these hotspots will be ranked 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 project.
 
 

 2009 REPOR

 
 

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

 
 

Nominate a Polluted Site

 
     
 

SPECIAL ALERT:  EMERGENCY IN NIGERIA

Graves of children killed by lead poisoning outbreak in Nigeria"There have been more deaths from lead poisoning here than in the whole world combined in the last 40 years (at these types of mining and lead processing sites)." 
-- Dr. Ian von Lindern, Terra Graphics Environmental Engineering, a member of Blacksmith's expert team on the ground in Nigeria, speaking to the AFP. 

(Photo: Graves of children; Associated Press)

There is an unprecedented lead poisoning crisis unfolding in Nigeria right now. At the request of the Nigerian authorities, Blacksmith has been on the ground for the past two weeks doing assessments and leading urgent emergency cleanup. 

Blacksmith is working with the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Doctors Without Borders, and local authorities to avert a catastrophe.

The toll so far:

  • Over 150 children dead, many under five
  • More than 300 people ill; some blind, deaf, unable to walk and talk
  • Fatality rate is 46%
  • More deaths are expected

Learn how you can help.

Check for updates on Facebook and Twitter 

CNN REPORTS ON BLACKSMITH'S LIFE-OR-DEATH RACE AGAINST TIME  

Blacksmith experts are on the ground rushing to do urgent cleanup before the rains arrive in July, making roads impassable and spreading the toxic pollutant.

Cleanup crews are currently going from house to house, removing toxic lead.  This is key because surviving children cannot be treated unless they have safe homes to return to. 

Blacksmith is remediating 120 compounds in two villages, and will also deal with piles of toxic waste. Five more villages need urgent attention but funds are unavailable. Time is running out.

Read more:

Lead cleanup in Nigerian village is life-or-death race against time, CNN, June 14

Child graves reveal lead poison tragedy - 70 children lost from one village alone, CNN, June 10

WALL STREET JOURNAL UPDATES SITUATION IN NIGERIA

"Nigerian and international officials are expanding testing for lead exposure to at least four more villages and say contamination could have spread further because gold processing is widespread in the area." -- WSJ, June 17.

Read the report.

SEARCH FOR GOLD ENDS IN DEATH - REPORTS ON THE TRAGIC TOLL AND ITS CAUSE

"The discovery of a gold deposit triggered a "gold rush" among impoverished farmers who dug up rocks by hand, unaware that the ore contained dangerously high concentrations of lead." -- Reuters.

"This is a great source of livelihood for them and it is not uncommon in these sorts of circumstances that people will deny that their activities are the issue. There has to be a campaign of education and it has to include training so they don't loose the livelihood but can do it in a way that is safe for their children,"  -- Richard Fuller, President, Blacksmith Institute, speaking to Reuters.

 

Gold, and lead, bring illness and death in Nigeria -- Associated Press, June 11

Race against time to sanitize lead-epidemic hit Nigeria, AFP, June 11

Nigeria tries to end "gold rush" after child deaths -- Reuters, June 9

Nigeria lead poisoning:  "Hundreds could die" -- BBC, June 7

Lead poisoning from mining kills 163 in Nigeria -- Reuters, June 4

LISTEN TO BLACKSMITH INTERVIEW ON PRI'S "THE WORLD"

Read the transcript or download MP3

"Pretty much everyone that has been tested... has tested with blood levels that are above the range of the equipment that we send out there.... Some people will be permanently damaged.... The most imperative thing to do right now is the emergency response of cleaning up these houses so that when the children return back to these compounds, there is no more ongoing exposure." -- Richard Fuller, President, Blacksmith Institute.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LEAD POISONING

Lead poisoning is one of the world's worst pollution problems. It can be found in almost every city in the developing world. Lead contamination may be cuased by artisanal gold mining, the improper recycling of used car batteries, or other activities.

Blacksmith Paper: The Effects of Lead on Maternal and Child Health