Report on world’s top six toxic threats released

Publish date: November 3, 2010

The Blacksmith Institute and the Green Cross Switzerland presented 5th annual report about world’s worst pollution problems titled Top Six Toxic Threats.

The report focuses on specific pollutants and presents solutions. The report presents the most relevant toxic threats for humans, some of which people confront every day, some more seldom. The health of about 100 million people is in danger because of these toxics and according to World Health Organisation, WHO, 20% of deaths in developing countries are caused by them.

The top six toxic threats covered in the report are lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic, pesticides and radionuclides. Lead and mercury are widely used in various industries including mining and chromium is needed for leather tanning. Arsenic is a pesticide but it is also released copper and lead mining industry. Pesticides are used for fumigating insects from agricultural crops. All of these substances have various health effects on humans and can bear deadly threat to humans exposed to them on daily basis.

Unlike usually assumed, the contamination does not originate from large international corporations mismanaging their waste but rather from local small scale industry and mining. It should be noted though, that the local industry is fueled by international corporations outsourcing their production. Many of these substances are already forbidden in some countries and the international community is working on banning others globally but many of the substances stay in the environment once they have been released there. Education and public awareness are needed to make the world see this serious threat and to make the local people understand the effects of the toxics.

To see the full report, visit

Blacksmith Institute

Blacksmith Institute is an international not-for-profit organization which works to solve life-threatening pollution issues in low- and middle-income countries. A global leader in this field, Blacksmith identifies and cleans up the world’s worst polluted places, where human health, especially that of women and children, is most at risk. Institute is based in New York and it works cooperatively in partnerships that include governments, the international community, NGOs and local agencies to design and implement innovative, low-cost solutions to save lives. Since institute was found in 1999, it has completed more than 50 projects. Blacksmith is currently engaged in approximately 40 projects in 20 countries.

Green Cross Switzerland  

Green Cross Switzerland facilitates overcoming consequential damages caused by industrial and military disasters and the clean-up of contaminated sites from the period of the Cold War. Central issues are the improvement of the living quality of people affected by chemical, radioactive and other types of contamination, as well as the promotion of a sustainable development in the spirit of cooperation instead of confrontation. This includes the involvement of all stakeholder groups affected by a problem. The foundation Green Cross Switzerland was established in 1994 and its work is characterized by fast, direct, and effective help to self-help on site.