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Azerbaijan: Defusing a 25-Ton Pollution “Time Bomb” Near A School in Ujar

This report is from Rovshan Abbasov from Pure Earth Azerbaijan. —- Many people call pollution a slow-moving time bomb. It works not only slowly but also cuts deeply. A place with pollution is useless in every way. Living with pollution … Continue reading

Bangladesh: Mobilizing Tea Workers To Fight Pollution

Earlier this year, Pure Earth Bangladesh and a local partner, We Are Friends For Human (WAFFH), hosted workshops on the harmful effects of pollution on human health. The workshops were primarily attended by tea estate workers, a marginalized, multi-ethnic group, … Continue reading

Think Tank Report Recommends Support For Pure Earth

In a new report, think tank Rethink Priorities acknowledges Pure Earth as the “largest organization working on lead exposure,” and recommends Pure Earth as a leading organization with effective solutions. The Global Lead Exposure Report from researchers David Bernard and … Continue reading

Investigating and Mapping Mercury Contamination in Colombia

When Pure Earth investigators visited a gold ore processing plant in the Colombian town of Remedios, they found dangerous levels of mercury in the air. This plant was nestled in an urban area, alongside a school, market, and church, endangering … Continue reading

In The News: Pure Earth’s Work On The Global Lead Poisoning Crisis

Last year, Pure Earth and UNICEF confirmed in The Toxic Truth report that lead poisoning is affecting children globally on a massive and previously unknown scale. The toll? 1 in 3 children globally (around 800 million kids) have elevated lead … Continue reading

Pure Earth, USC and Macquarie University Publish Landmark Lead Study in The Lancet Planetary Health Journal

The March 2021 issue of The Lancet Planetary Health journal includes an important paper that supports Pure Earth’s previous publications asserting the extent of the childhood lead poisoning crisis in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The paper, Blood lead levels … Continue reading

Circle of Women: Creating Safe Spaces For Innovation And Health With Traditional Potters In Mexico

Why are women’s circles important? Because as women, we spend our time caring for others. We take care of men, the elderly, children, but sometimes we forget to also take care of ourselves. Women’s circles are important because historically, those … Continue reading

Stopping Dangerous Levels of Heavy Metals in Baby Food

A newly released government investigative report on baby foods has revealed dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals, including lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. It was issued on February 4, 2021, by the U.S. Congress (Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, … Continue reading

A Year Like No Other – Looking Back and Beyond 2020

At Pure Earth, we’ve defined 2020-2030 as the decade of delivering pollution solutions. Guided by CEO Richard Fuller and our new President and COO Mark Schnellbaecher, we’ve put together a ten-year strategic plan that builds upon 20 years of experience … Continue reading

The Ocean Pollution-Berg

What’s in our oceans? It’s an ocean pollution-berg and we’re just seeing the tip of the problem. A new study from  Dr. Philip Landrigan and our friends at Boston College links widespread pollution of our oceans to a multitude of … Continue reading

An Amazonian Mining Community Fulfilling its Obligation to the Rainforest

Along with local partners, Pure Earth started the reforestation of more than 3.5 hectares of rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon in 2017 and 2018. Another 2.5 hectares was restored in 2020. This report is from Pure Earth’s Charles Espinosa. Located … Continue reading

Partnering To Solve A Global Childhood Menace: Lead

Pollution investigators from Pure Earth’s Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP) have been busy finding and assessing contaminated communities around the world for over a decade. Of all the pollutants they find, there’s one they keep coming across again and again … Continue reading

Pure Earth Collaborates On Jewelry Collection To Fight Pollution

“As sustainable fashion becomes a necessity, designers and organizations dedicated to conservation are joining forces. In the past, Pure Earth has made headlines by working in some of the world’s poorest communities to combat toxic pollution, a problem linked directly … Continue reading

Helping Communities Hard Hit By COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many of the poor communities we work with especially hard.  In Mexico, for example, the potters we trained to use lead-free glaze in their traditional ceramics are now facing hardship because they cannot go out … Continue reading

A Mother’s Story: Hope in Kathgora, Bangladesh

This year, mothers in Kathgora, Bangladesh, have a big reason to celebrate–they know that their children are healthier today than they were a year ago. That’s because their children’s blood lead levels (BLL) have been almost cut in half following … Continue reading

N95 Masks Used For Toxic Pollution Cleanup Donated To Hospitals Amidst Pandemic

We know how critical PPE (personal protective equipment) is from our toxic pollution cleanup work around the world. Pure Earth team members often wear a combination of N95 masks, hazmat suits, gloves, and other protection out in the field when … Continue reading

“Quarantine” Q&A Webinars Tap Pure Earth’s Global Network Of Public Health Experts

In response to the covid-19 pandemic, Pure Earth’s “Quarantine” Q&A webinar series has been offering insights and analysis from our extensive network of colleagues and friends in public health around the world. It is one way we are sharing our … Continue reading

We Will Get Through This Together – Our Global Team Responds To The Pandemic

The global coronavirus pandemic has made one thing clear — we are a global family. No matter where you live, we all call this planet home. We will get through this together. Until we can gather again in person, please … Continue reading

How Are You Doing? Statement from Pure Earth President Richard Fuller

Greetings from New York, where we are entering our second week of social distancing, and now a statewide lockdown. We closely followed news of covid-19 as it spread through Asia, Europe, and now the U.S., and we are experiencing the … Continue reading

Colombia: Activating Communities To Solve Pollution

Pure Earth kicked off its important global community outreach project on February 19th in Colombia, covered by the country’s premier news station, generating excitement at all levels, from the Ministry of Health to local NGOs working with indigenous people. “The … Continue reading

Pure Earth’s Head of Research Co-Writes Textbook On Global Environmental Health

Do not be saddened by stories of polluted places or diseased communities. Rather, let it motivate you to build your skills, clean up the environment, and make an impact on global health. — Dr. Jack Caravanos Congratulations to Dr. Jack … Continue reading

20 Years of Pollution Solutions Countdown

Over the past 20 years, Pure Earth has addressed toxic pollution in over 120 project locations through assessment, remediation, risk mitigation and more.  See our approach for details.  These projects have impacted approximately 5 million people – 20% of those … Continue reading

Lead Poisoning Affects Over 1 Million Children in Mexico; Pottery is Main Cause

What is the true scope of lead poisoning in Mexico? For the first time, we have a clearer picture, thanks to a health survey conducted by the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico, documented in the report “National report … Continue reading

VIDEO: “Why I Give” – Donors Explain Why They Support Pure Earth

This year, we asked some of our most ardent supporters—including Bobbie Lloyd, chief baking officer of the world famous Magnolia Bakery, and designer Ammar Belal—to tell us why they give to Pure Earth. Watch their video testimonies below. Thank you … Continue reading

Pure Earth’s Global Mercury Program:
Success By The Numbers

Pure Earth’s Global Mercury Program works around the world to eliminate mercury use and clean up contaminated sites to reduce mercury poisoning and protect the health of communities, especially children. Since artisanal and small-scale (ASGM) gold mining is responsible for … Continue reading

Brazil: Helping The Potters of Maragogipinho Go Lead Free

In May 2018, Pure Earth held a lead-free workshop for nine potters in Maragogipinho, Brazil. This was an important first step in helping a community, where some residents had blood lead levels as much as 15 times above the EPA’s level … Continue reading

Colombia Lead Poisoning: More Children Can Now Sleep Safely With Lead-Free Mattresses

Imagine sleeping on lead-soaked mattresses. For years, parents in Malambo, Colombia, didn’t know that their children were sleeping on poison. Surrounded by five lead smelters, Malambo was heavily contaminated with lead. Over the years, lead had polluted the ground, settled … Continue reading

Pollution and Climate Change – Twin Threats With Shared Sources, Solutions

Pollution and climate change are twin threats, or as the UN puts it, two sides of the same coin. If we solve pollution, we will not only impact climate change, but also save lives now. For too long, pollution and … Continue reading

Children’s Lead Levels Fall 35% Following Cleanup in Kathgora, Bangladesh

When we returned to the small village of Kathgora, Bangladesh, just months after our remediation work, we found to our delight that the impact was already measurable in the healthier children we saw. Before our cleanup, tests of 69 children … Continue reading

Ukraine: Chernobyl and Radikal

This summer, Pure Earth’s head of research, Dr. Jack Caravanos, visited Ukraine with his students from NYU’s College of Public Health. In addition to Chernobyl, probably the best-known polluted site in the country, the group also visited Radikal, an abandoned … Continue reading

Madagascar: United in Soccer and Pollution Cleanup

Updated: Feb. 2020: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has selected Pure Earth’s proposal to solve Madagascar’s pollution crisis as a Top 100 in its 100&Change competition. Project co-leads on the proposal are Indiana University and the University … Continue reading

Plogging in the Philippines: HSBC and Pure Earth Raise Awareness About Pollution

This post is by Pure Earth intern Matthew Chakwin, who is studying Global Health at Georgetown University. August 2019–This June, over 130 volunteers from HSBC’s water programme in the Philippines did some plogging to raise awareness about pollution for Pure … Continue reading

Pure Earth Pollution Experts From Around The World Gather To Share Stories: VIDEO

Pure Earth pollution experts from around the world recently gathered in New York to share updates on the progress being made solving pollution problems in their home communities and in countries spread out over five continents. The event, held at … Continue reading

Two Pesticide Cleanups and a Wedding in Tajikistan, Near the Afghan Border

A Pure Earth team conducting pesticide cleanups was welcomed in home after home in Tajikistan. In an area near the Afghan border, where we had to pass through checkpoints and guards with guns, we were showered with hospitality. We were … Continue reading

Lead Poisoning in Newborns: The Story Of Baby X in Mexico

Lead Poisoning Study: 300 mothers and their newborns In 2015, Pure Earth worked with the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico on the first-ever effort to detect and measure exposure to lead poisoning at a state level in … Continue reading

Pure Earth Day: Hundreds Mobilized for Pokemon Go Pollution Cleanups and more

During Earth Week, Pure Earth mobilized hundreds of people around the world for a series of pollution cleanup events and a special news-making photo exhibition and presentation. These events were all part of Pure Earth Day, our inaugural global effort to bring … Continue reading

Rainforest Reforestation Brings Degraded Mining Sites Back to Life, Provide Models of Hope

In South America, alluvial gold mining is degrading the Amazon basin at an unprecedented rate, leaving barren craters in previously lush rainforest. Pure Earth is working on a rainforest reforestation project to restore the area. The worst damage is happening … Continue reading

20 Years of Pollution Solutions:
Celebrating our Impact, Building Momentum

This post is from Pure Earth development associate Erin Andrews. This is an important year for Pure Earth. It marks 20 years of leading the charge in fighting pollution – 20 years of saving lives, particularly the lives of children in … Continue reading

Meet the Model Mafia: Working With Pure Earth To Fight Pollution

In 2017, more than 30 models got on a bus and headed to the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C. It was one of their first forays as the Model Mafia, a powerful collective of activist models brought together by Cameron Russell and Áine … Continue reading

Women and the Fight Against Pollution

At the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which took place on March 12, 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Pure Earth joined with participants from around the world to discuss a variety … Continue reading

Bihar, India: How we celebrated a community, and helped them take action on lead poisoning

It was a day to remember. The celebration in the public town square of Karmalichak, a community in Patna, in the state of Bihar, India, was not only fun, but potentially life-changing. Organized by our local partner, the Institute of … Continue reading

Generational Impact of Lead Poisoning in Girls

This post is from Lara Crampe, Pure Earth’s Director of Community Outreach. This photo (above) is heartbreaking for me. The young girl in pink is chronically exposed to extremely high levels of lead because families in her village have been … Continue reading

Empowering Women Gold Miners in Indonesia

Jan. 2019–This month, a new initiative, Women in Mining and Energy (WiME), was launched in Indonesia. Congratulations to the founders (pictured above), who include Budi Susilorini, Pure Earth’s Indonesia country director, along with a group of professionals linked through the Minerals and Energy for … Continue reading

New Report Shows How We Are All Connected By Pollution; And Reveals What We Can Do

If you think you and your family are not impacted by pollution far from your home, think again. Pollution Knows No Borders, Pure Earth’s latest report, documents how the pollution crisis in low- and middle-income countries affects everyone’s health – including … Continue reading

Toxic Legacy At 10th Century Armenian Historic Site Comes To An End With Pure Earth Cleanup

As the first Christian country worldwide, Armenia is known for it’s beautiful, historic churches. Not only are they tourist attractions, they also serve as community centers for baptisms, weddings, barbecues, class trips and more. When Pure Earth, working together with … Continue reading

Global Team Profile: Valeriia Kovach Talks Biofuels and Other Innovative Approaches in Ukraine

Like many countries of the Former Soviet Union, Ukraine has been dealing with many unresolved pollution challenges, from the major issue of obsolete pesticides being improperly stored throughout the country, to the lingering public health and pollution issues connected to the 1986 … Continue reading

Colombia Lead Poisoning: A Clean, Lead-Free Mattress For His Birthday

Alejandro celebrated his 13th birthday recently with a new mattress, but what he received was a potential lifetime of safe and sound sleep. He is one of about 50 children living near a lead smelter in Malambo, Colombia, who we found … Continue reading

HSBC Volunteers Take Action Against River Pollution in the Philippines

This post is from Larah Ortega Ibañez, Pure Earth’s coordinator in the Philippines. This April, under the searing sun, over 200 volunteers from HSBC Philippines and the local community showed up to help Pure Earth take action against river pollution. Together, … Continue reading

From Mexico To Brazil – Sharing Solutions To A Shared Pollution Problem

When Pure Earth visited Maragogipinho, a village in the town of Aratuípe in Brazil, in 2017 as part of the Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP), the team found lead concentrations in the soil as high as 44,500 ppm (the EPA level … Continue reading

In Tajikistan, Coalition of Local Groups Unite Against Abandoned Pesticide Problem

Note from the field by Angela Bernhardt, Pure Earth Communications Director  The breast milk of Tajik mothers contain a mean concentration of DDT that is 4 times higher than permissible levels, according to the World Health Organization in Tajikistan. This is not … Continue reading

Keeping Two-Year-Old Dexter and His Friends Safe From Lead Poisoning in Pampanga, Philippines

This blog post is from Indigo Golub, a communications intern at Pure Earth. She is currently undergoing a bachelors degree in History, Law, and Society at the American University of Paris. Meet Dexter. The two-year-old, seen here with his mom, … Continue reading

Pure Earth’s Toxic Site Investigators Blanket 350 Villages In The Philippines To Identify and Map Pollution Problems

This post is by Madeline Walker, Pure Earth Communications Intern. Madeline attends undergraduate college at SUNY Geneseo, where she will receive a dual degree in Political Science & Communication. One day, she hopes to pursue a career in the fields … Continue reading

Walking The Earth To Find Pollution. Meet Our Toxic Site Investigators, Watch Them In Action In Brazil (VIDEO)

Pure Earth’s toxic site investigators can be found the world over. Their mission? To walk the earth in order to find, map and assess polluted sites in low and middle-income countries, where residents are being poisoned where they live. The effort … Continue reading

Colombia Lead Poisoning: Helping Children Break Free in Malambo

This post is by Charlie Espinosa, Pure Earth intern for Latin America. A 2014 study conducted by Universidad Naciónal de Colombia revealed high lead levels in all students attending La Bonga Elementary School. Located in Malambo, Colombia, the school sits in … Continue reading

Pure Earth President Receives Honor from Australian Government for Service to the Environment

Pure Earth President Richard Fuller, an Aussie based in New York, was recently recognized with the prestigious Order of Australia Medal for his service to conservation and the environment. “…my hope is that this recognition brings more attention to the global … Continue reading

Former US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Rouses
Crowd To Its Feet With Passionate Pollution Plea

A standing ovation. That is what Gina McCarthy, former US EPA administrator, received at the Pure Earth benefit on Earth Day in New York City. McCarthy was a special guest at the benefit focused on “Pollution Solutions,” showcasing the cleanup … Continue reading

A Friendship Based On Giving Back – Colombian Star Taliana Vargas and Designer Pili Restrepo

U.S. audiences might know actress and model Taliana Vargas from her key role in season three of Netflix’s Narcos.  But away from the spotlight, Vargas is a philanthropist at heart. In Colombia, Vargas is using her star power to help … Continue reading

Restoring Rainforest Stripped By Gold Mining in the Amazon

Watch a video of the project above, or click here. This post is from Charles Espinosa, an intern working with our Latin America program team. Charlie is pursuing a master’s degree in Latin American studies at Columbia University, with a … Continue reading

Lead Exposure Linked to 412,000 Deaths in US; On Par With Tobacco

An important new paper from Dr. Bruce Lanphear, a member of the Pure Earth Leadership Council, and a Commissioner on The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, reveals that cardiovascular impacts of lead are under-estimated by a factor of 10. While stunning, this revelation did … Continue reading

Cleanup Of Infamous Pesticide Site Brings Toxic Legacy To An End

If you asked any authority on pollution about Azerbaijan, the name Salyan, would inevitably come up. Located about 93 miles (150 km) from the capital of Baku, Salyan was home to the most contaminated pesticide site in the country, and … Continue reading

Barro Aprobado In New York – Helping Mexican Lead-Free Artisans Reach A Wider Market

  (Read the story in Spanish on the Barro Aprobado site) Recently, a team representing a group of ten artisans from Michoacán in Mexico traveled to New York to show their lead-free pottery at NY Now, one of the largest trades … Continue reading

At Davos, Visualizing the Global Pollution Crisis; Presenting Solutions

Pure Earth President Richard Fuller was at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week talking about one of the most effective ways to improve lives globally–cleaning up pollution. While the WEF’s Global Risks 2018 report acknowledges that pollution has “moved further … Continue reading

World Bank Talks Next Steps With Pure Earth, Global Alliance

  Pollution is one global crisis that can be solved, but it will take commitment, cooperation, and funding.  That was the takeaway from a January 11th discussion in Washington, D.C. that brought together the World Bank, Pure Earth and the Global Alliance … Continue reading

HSBC Mexico’s “Adopt A Potter” Program Takes On Urgency After Earthquake

HSBC has launched a unique “Adopt A Potter” program in support of Pure Earth’s work to reduce lead poisoning from the widespread use of traditional leaded pottery in Mexico. Under the program, corporate volunteers visit artisans who have gone lead-free … Continue reading

Barro Aprobado Lead-Free Potter Wins Prize – Q&A With Doña Rosario

Congratulations Doña Rosario! The talented potter, who is part of the Pure Earth Barro Aprobado program, was awarded 1st place in the national ceramic prize competition that aims to promote the preservation of the traditional techniques and designs of Mexican pottery. … Continue reading

Dev Patel Chooses Pure Earth As Charity Of Choice For Mandarin Oriental’s Global Campaign

Thank you Dev! Academy Award nominee Dev Patel has selected Pure Earth as his charity of choice for the Mandarin Oriental’s global “He’s a Fan/She’s a Fan” campaign. The hotel group will donate $10,000 to support our work in some … Continue reading

A Open Letter: It Is Time To Put Pollution On The Map

The new report from The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, published on Oct. 19, pinpoints pollution as the cause of 1 in 6 deaths worldwide, with children and the poor being the most vulnerable. We cannot afford the health and economic impacts.  … Continue reading

Meet The Maqques: A Family Of Gold Miners Going Mercury Free So They Can Work Together Safely

Earlier this year, Pure Earth launched an ambitious project in Peru, supported by Brilliant Earth, a global leader in ethically sourced fine jewelry.  The goal: to transform the Chichiqueros artisanal gold mining community into a mercury-free model.  The Chichiqueros work in an area … Continue reading

Notes From The Field: Irrigation Canal Delivers Poison To Entire Village of Naiman, Kyrgyzstan

  This post is from Indira Zhakipova, Pure Earth’s coordinator in Kyrgyzstan The village of Naiman is inhabited by 1,800 people, and is located in the Nookat district of the Osh region of Kyrgyzstan, 70 km from the regional center … Continue reading

Natural Disasters and The Pollution Risk — A Pure Earth Q&A

The recent Hurricanes (Harvey in Texas, Irma in Florida and the Caribbean) with their extensive floods have raised questions of pollution and other chemical contamination. This is an important public health issue that many times gets lost in the early … Continue reading

Notes From The Field: The Toxic Lakes Of Azerbaijan

There are over 200 lakes in the Absheron Peninsular in Azerbaijan, located near the capital of Baku. For years, industrial and household wastewater has been dumped into these waters–an estimated 41.5 million cubic meters annually! This includes discharges from many of … Continue reading

Mongolia Update: Revisiting Miners We Trained

Remember Mrs. Mungun? She was the “gold ninja” who learned to go mercury-free at a Pure Earth training workshop so she could provide a better life for her two children. We met Mrs. Mungun again recently and we’re delighted to report that she’s … Continue reading

Minamata Convention Enters Into Force Aug 16: Pure Earth Helps Lay Groundwork With Guide For Governments

Update: A Pure Earth team is currently at COP1, joining representatives from around the globe who have come together to help make mercury history. Our team is attending daily sessions as well as meetings to discuss guidance on the management … Continue reading

A Personal Story Of Pollution In Azerbaijan, And A Childhood Caught Between Polluted And Clean

This post comes from Rovshan Abbasov, Pure Earth’s country coordinator in Azerbaijan. Rovshan shares his story about pollution in Azerbaijan, and a childhood caught between clean and polluted. (WATCH VIDEO BELOW) My name is Rovshan Abbasov. Currently, I am head of the … Continue reading

Looking For Lead? No Problem! Quickest Discovery In Two Decades

  This post is from Andrew McCartor, Pure Earth’s Regional Director for South Asia. Finding and confirming pollution can be difficult because polluters don’t advertise their activities, and many toxic pollutants are invisible and thus require sophisticated equipment to analyze. Pure Earth … Continue reading

Transforming The Chichiqueros Gold Mining Community In Peru’s Rainforest Into A Mercury-Free Model

  Earlier this year, Pure Earth launched an ambitious project supported by Brilliant Earth, a global leader in ethically sourced fine jewelry.  The goal: to transform the Chichiqueros artisanal gold mining community into a mercury-free model.  The Chichiqueros work in an area in … Continue reading

Notes from the field: Dr. Jack Caravanos in Kabwe with the Guardian

Q & A with Dr. Jack Caravanos, Pure Earth’s Director of Research Jack traveled to Kabwe, Zambia, last month with The Guardian environment editor Damian Carrington and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Larry C. Price. The Guardian just published a front-page story as a … Continue reading

Notes From The Field: A Week In The Life Of A Pure Earth Staffer In The Philippines

  What is it like to be a pollution fighter for Pure Earth? We followed Lara Crampe (above), Pure Earth’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia, during a recent week-long trip to the Philippines, where she met with local partners, visited … Continue reading

Global Team Profile:
Umed in Tajikistan Saves Families From Homes Built On Toxic Land

When homes started being built on a highly-contaminated site in Jami district, Khatlon region, Pure Earth’s coordinator in Tajikistan, Ulugov Umidjon Amonovichis, fondly known as Umed, sprung into action. Umed informed the local authorities and presented them with all the environmental assessment data he and team members had collected via Pure Earth’s TSIP program. Understanding the threat posed to the families living in these new homes, the authorities, on the spot, reversed a 2014 approval allowing the land owner to lease property and are prosecuting him for knowingly putting residents health at risk. Continue reading

Mothers Of Change: These Women Are Fighting Pollution, And Winning (Photos)

We see them all the time when we work in polluted hotspots where, really, no one should be living. We see them going about their daily, often back-breaking work, many times with children in tow. These women are often too busy … Continue reading

Training Toxic Site Investigators In Senegal

Pure Earth regional director for Africa, Judith St. Fort, and senior program officer, Russell Dowling, recently returned to Senegal to help train local toxic site investigators as part of the Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP). Judith and Russell brought with them dozens … Continue reading

Thank You For Supporting Our Heavy Metal Benefit Bash (Photos)

Thank you to all you “headbangers,” “lead singers” and “groupies,” and everyone who had a “front row seat” or “backstage pass” at our Heavy Metal Benefit Bash. You came, you dined, learned more about toxic heavy metals, and some of you … Continue reading

See The Pure Earth Auction Collection, As Featured In Vogue

Mercury-free gold is in Vogue! In Why Mercury-Free Gold Is the Future of Sustainable Jewelry, Vogue magazine reported on Pure Earth’s collaboration with superstar model Molly Bair, and 21 leading designers to curate a special collection of jewelry crafted using recycled, Fairtrade, or … Continue reading

Why Women Hold The Key To Fighting Pollution

“Women are usually in charge of the family’s health but are often excluded from training and other opportunities,” says Budi Susilorini, Pure Earth’s country director for Indonesia. Budi was recently invited to take part in a discussion organized by NGO BaliFokus … Continue reading

Database of World’s Polluted Sites Is Now Online

For more than a decade now, Pure Earth has been training and sending investigators out across the world’s worst polluted places to identify, assess and map contaminated sites that pose a health risk to communities. The effort, part of our Toxic … Continue reading

Photo: Larry C. Price

Here’s How We Fought Pollution With Your Support, And Helped To Save Lives In 2016

Pollution is one global problem that can be solved. We have solutions. #WeCanFightPollution. Here are some highlights of our work around the world over the past 12 months. Thanks to our supporters, we are making an impact. AFRICA Toxic-free homes for … Continue reading

Report from Colombia: Investigating Toxic Sites

  This post comes to you from Alfonso Rodríguez, Pure Earth’s new country director in Colombia.  Pure Earth has expanded its Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP) in Colombia as part of a new project funded by USAID to reduce the threats of toxic chemical … Continue reading

A Mountain Of Success in Agbogbloshie

A mountain of success! Pure Earth partner GreenAd’s Bennett Akuffo is shown here standing on a pile of cleanly processed plastic cable casings in Agbogbloshie, Ghana.  This is what would have been burnt, releasing polluting toxic fumes, if local recyclers … Continue reading

Introducing Molly Bair: Superstar Model, Pollution Fighter!

#FightPollution with Molly Bair When you see model Molly Bair, you might be reminded of her work with fashion’s biggest names, including Prada, Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney, and Marc Jacobs. Now, Molly is harnessing her star power to train a spotlight … Continue reading

Getting Lead Out Of Sovetskoe (Kan), Kyrgyzstan

This post comes from Alena Temnikova, Pure Earth’s regional coordinator in Kyrgyzstan.  When lead and zinc ore mining began in the 1950s, the first workers lived in tarpaulin tents and barracks. Then houses were built and the town of Sovetskoe (recently renamed … Continue reading

Global Team Profile:
Budi Susilorini in Indonesia

Pure Earth’s country director in Indonesia, Budi Susilorini, recently spent a month in the New York office, meeting with colleagues, exchanging ideas and sharing experiences. We caught up with her to learn more about what motivates her.  Budi is a key … Continue reading

Protecting Children By Cleaning Up Lead-Contaminated Yards in Kabwe

  This post is from Lara Crampe, Pure Earth’s regional director for Southeast Asia.  She is currently in Zambia working with the team on the second phase of Pure Earth’s remediation project in the Chowa neighborhood of Kabwe. This month our … Continue reading

Notes From The Field:
It Takes A Village

The two lists you see above show the names of people in the village who contributed towards the construction of paved roads that now criss-cross the rural community of Dong Mai in Vietnam. On our recent visit, we saw lists … Continue reading

Peru: Emerging From A State of Emergency In The Labyrinth

Located about an hour from the city of Puerto Maldonado, the capital of Madre de Dios, is Laberinto (or the Labyrinth) -– a gold mining district in the Peruvian Amazon, hidden by an immense canopy of vegetation. A few months … Continue reading

Notes From The Field:
In Indonesia, testing a playground, school, homes for toxic lead

A few days ago, we visited a school, playground and homes in one neighborhood in Jakarta to test for toxic lead. Children can get poisoned when they ingest lead flakes or lead dust that comes off of brightly painted playground … Continue reading

Walk-Through Of Agbogbloshie E-Waste Site Spreads Message: “Burning Is Bad”

“Kona Ne Bad” or “Burning Is Bad” – that was the message splashed across tee-shirts and posters, and shouted out through megaphones by our team as they did a walk-through of the Agbogbloshie e-waste dumpsite in Ghana last month (Aug … Continue reading

UN Youth Assembly Meet To Discuss SDGs, World’s Challenges

This post is from Pure Earth summer intern Taylor Carroll (pictured above), an environmental studies major in her senior year at Lehigh University. Recently, over 1,000 delegates from all over the world met at the United Nations headquarters in New York … Continue reading

The Missing Link Between Environment And Public Health

This post is from Pure Earth summer intern Taylor Carroll, an environmental studies major in her senior year at Lehigh University. Some may be surprised to hear that the Environmental Protection Agency is primarily a public health agency, but EPA … Continue reading

Pure Earth Experts Contribute To WHO Children’s Environmental Health Training Modules

The World Health Organization (WHO) has just released a new series of children’s environmental health training modules that were prepared by experts around the world, including representatives from Pure Earth and the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP). Dr. … Continue reading

In Cameroon: Hunting For Toxic Killers

Fighting pollution does not just mean cleaning up toxic sites.  It also involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work that might not make the news, such as the painstaking task of identifying, mapping, and assessing contaminated hotspots around the world. This was what … Continue reading

Update on Latin America:
A Dirty Talk and A New Research Paper

Dirty Talk With A View  For our latest Dirty Talk (Pure Earth’s awareness-raising lunchtime series), we brought experts to the New York Times building to talk about pollution in Latin America. The event attracted a full house and boasted some of the best … Continue reading

Mongolia Teaching Van Trailblazes A Path To Mercury-Free Mining

This post is from Pure Earth summer intern Sarah Baer, a youth philanthropy leader in her junior year at the University of Pennsylvania. In the remote reaches of Mongolia, Pure Earth’s project team has put together a teaching van to educate miners on … Continue reading

New Signs Of Life: Greenery Sprouts From Once-Toxic Beach

What a difference a year makes. Last year, Pure Earth embarked on our first cleanup project in Azerbaijan—at a toxic beach along the Caspian sea in Sumgayit—in a region we had designated as one of the “World’s Worst Polluted Places.” Today, … Continue reading

A Tremendous Loss: Dmitriy Tereshkevich

The Pure Earth family is sad to learn of the sudden death of Dmitriy Tereshkevich, our country director in Kazakhstan. He was just 33. His passing is a shock and a tremendous loss to everyone at Pure Earth worldwide, and to the … Continue reading

Breaking the Cycle of Extreme Lead Poisoning in Pesarean, Indonesia

This week’s post is from Angela Bernhardt, Executive Director of Communications for Pure Earth. After two and a half years in our New York headquarters, I took my first trip to the field with our Southeast Asia coordinator, Lara Crampe. … Continue reading

Planning Our Strategy

The Pure Earth program and management team recently concluded a three-day retreat at a donated vacation home in coastal Maine. There was much to plan as Pure Earth received a new grant and a renewal from a previous funder. We will be working in 30 countries in the next three years identifying contaminated sites that are threatening human health and implementing solutions. Continue reading

A Mother’s Story: Mongolian “Gold Ninja” Goes Mercury-Free For Her Children

This is Mrs. Mungun (not her real name), a single mother with two children living in Central Mongolia.  When times got tough for her, she became a “gold ninja” to feed her children. About 20% of the rural Mongolian workforce are “gold … Continue reading

In Photos: Teaching Artisanal Gold Miners To Extract Gold Without Mercury

Meet Filipino gold miners Leoncio Na-Oy (pictured below, right) and Rudy Onos. Over the past few years, Pure Earth has been working with Leoncio and Rudy to test and teach a century-old, traditional method of mercury-free gold mining Leoncio rediscovered in his … Continue reading

Pure Earth Pure Gold Benefit Sparks Golden Opportunity To Fight Mercury Poisoning

Do you know where the gold in your jewelry comes from? Following the success of our recent Pure Earth Pure Gold Benefit Bash, we think many more people will begin to ask that crucial question and demand that more be done to … Continue reading

Jewelry Industry Works With Pure Earth Against Toxic Gold

Do you know where the gold in your jewelry and electronics come from? About 10% to 25% of the world’s total gold supply comes from artisanal gold mining, the leading source of mercury pollution in the world. Mercury released by … Continue reading

What’s the Connection Between Your Jewelry and Contaminated Fish?

How is the jewelry you wear and the iPhone you use connected with contaminated fish you may find on your plate? The answer is gold. Artisanal, small-scale gold mining is the leading cause of mercury pollution in the world, accounting for … Continue reading

Global Brain Trust Quantifying Economic And Health Costs Of Pollution

The latest WHO report released this week —  Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks” — is key in helping the world understand that the leading global public health threat has shifted … Continue reading

Project Highlights 2015: A String Of Firsts

Over the past year, we have started to finally see a shift connecting the silos that have kept efforts on the environment, health and development in separate disciplines. The catalyst for much of this progress has come from the creation … Continue reading

In Bihar, Toxic Lead 150 Times Over Limit

This man is “cooking” lead by the side of a busy road. This is a fairly common scene in Hajipur, home to many of the 40 informal and unregulated recyclers of used lead-acid batteries (ULAB) in Bihar, India. In this densely … Continue reading

What Does Flint, Michigan, and Kabwe, Zambia, Have In Common?

What does Flint, Michigan, and Kabwe, Zambia, have in common?  The answer is lead poisoning. Recently, NPR’s Goats and Soda program spoke with Pure Earth President Richard Fuller to get his take on the lead-contaminated water supply in Flint and how … Continue reading

Lake Titicaca Cleanup – Bolivia And Peru Pledges $500 Million

A milestone has been reached in the long struggle to clean up the famed Lake Titicaca. Bolivia and Peru have agreed to provide more than $500 million to manage the lake’s recovery through 2025. This is great news. Pollution of the lake … Continue reading

Year In Review:
Lead Free Homes For The First Time In 100 Years

Of the many cleanups we conducted in 2015, our work in Kabwe, Zambia, was one of the highlights. Last year, thanks to private donations from supporters, Pure Earth’s team was able to return to Kabwe to start cleaning up one of the “World’s … Continue reading

Photo Essay
Mexico: Lead Exposure From Traditional Pottery

AN URGENT CALL IN THE NIGHT Earlier this year, Sandra Gualtero, Pure Earth’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, received a late-night email labelled “URGENT.” It was from a nurse in Mexico who had just discovered a newborn baby with … Continue reading

Notes From The Field: Walking A Day To Seek Change In Kabwe

Joe Hayes, a hydrogeologist from the US, is a volunteer member of Pure Earth’s technical advisory board. Joe just returned from Kabwe, Zambia where he is helping to manage the cleanup of the lead-contaminated neighborhood of Chowa. “People in Kabwe … Continue reading

Fact Sheet: Mercury and Health

From the WHO Fact Sheet on Mercury and Health Key facts Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. Exposure to mercury – even small amounts – may cause serious health problems, and is … Continue reading

So Fresh And So Clean

“I am impressed with what has been done… and this comes as a relief not only to the people of Chowa, but the entire Kabwe population. We believe that when this project is completed, more lives will be safeguarded.”  — … Continue reading

Nearly 100% Of Children In This Neighborhood Have Been Poisoned

Almost every single child in Chowa is suffering from lead poisoning. Nearly all of Chowa’s children were found to have blood lead levels that are ten to 20 times the CDC recommended level, which can be fatal. The source of the toxin?  A group … Continue reading

Dinner Served On 960 Pieces Of Lead-Free Pottery Sends Urgent Message Across Mexico

[Read a version of this story in Spanish.] At this year’s Festival Internacional Cervantino, one of the most important arts and cultural events in Latin America, a dinner designed to showcase the culinary culture of Morelos state became a milestone in the fight against … Continue reading

Global Commission On Pollution May Be The Game-Changer

On Oct 1, a panel of world leaders and key experts in the fields of pollution management, environmental health and sustainable development gathered in Geneva to launch the Global Commission on Pollution, Health and Development. Like the Stern Review, which brought … Continue reading

World’s Top Six Toxic Threats Affect 95 Million People, Steal 14.7 Million Years Of Life

A new report – The New Top Six Toxic Threats: A Priority List For Remediation – has been released by Pure Earth and Green Cross Switzerland. It is the tenth report in the World’s Worst Pollution Problems series that over the years has served … Continue reading

A Tale Of Three Cleanups – Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Mexico

The best way to help communities clean up toxic sites is to advise and encourage, say Andrew McCartor, Bret Ericson and Sandra Gualtero. In the September issue of TCE magazine (The Chemical Engineer), the three Pure Earth program directors wrote about their … Continue reading

Bellandur Lake On Fire From Excessive Pollution

This post is from one of our resourceful communications summer interns Alex Rivlin, who spotted this story and realized the connection to the work we do. How polluted does water have to be to become flammable? Bellandur Lake is just … Continue reading

In Peru – A Path Of Gold And Destruction

Gold miners are revered here… This statue, which takes pride of place in the center of a gold mining town in Peru, speaks volumes about the relationship between gold and many locals. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining is a traditional … Continue reading

What Is “The Brown Agenda” And Why Is It Making Waves?

  “… while most everyone has heard about “going green,” few are aware of the more dire and sinister “brown” pollution — places where man-made toxic pollutants have taken root and spread.” – from “The Brown Agenda,” by Richard Fuller … Continue reading

India’s Lead Problem: More Than Just Instant Noodles

Earlier this month, there was a lead poisoning scare involving a brand of instant noodles manufactured in India. The company promptly pulled the product and samples were sent to the Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration for testing. The results – … Continue reading

The Pope on Pollution

While much of the conversation about the Pope’s encyclical has been about climate change, a quick look reveals that pollution is a big part of that equation. And he spotlights some of the key issues of the problem, including how pollution … Continue reading

(UPDATE) Transforming Agbogbloshie: From Toxic Dump Into Model Recycling Center

  UPDATE: June 2015 It has been eight months since Pure Earth opened the e-waste recycling center with automated wire-stripping units. We have been assessing what is working and what is not, as we enter the next phase of the project. … Continue reading

(VIDEO) In Their Backyards, Indonesian Gold Miners May Have Found Key To Reducing Mercury Emissions

Read the story on Medium. In Manado, at the picturesque tip of North Sulewesi in remote Indonesia, local artisanal gold miners may have found, in their backyards, the key to reducing mercury emissions.  Across Indonesia, you can see roofs of houses … Continue reading

A Toxic Beach in Azerbaijan Gets Cleaned Up, Solar Baths Become Safer

Read the story on Medium. This summer, when families return to stake out their spot in the sun along the coast of the Caspian sea in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan, there will be one crucial difference. The beach will no longer be toxic, and … Continue reading

Nigeria: New Outbreak of Lead Poisoning

 “At the hospital, he looked fine but behaved like he was losing his mind… In the evening of the same day, his fever became severe. He was restless. He later started jerking seriously with his eyes turning, and that was how … Continue reading

Applications Now Open: Fourth AuthorAid/Pure Earth Course in Research Writing

Calling all researchers. Are you looking to improve your skills in writing papers for peer-reviewed scientific journals? Do you have a draft of a scientific paper you are preparing for publication? Are you a citizen of, and is your research related … Continue reading

Alerting Local Researchers To Mexico’s National Lead Problem

Mexico’s 500-year old tradition of using toxic lead-glazes in pottery is a problem that continues to plague residents to this day. In our paper “Blood Lead Levels in Mexico and Pediatric Burden of Disease Implications,” published in the Annals of Global … Continue reading

Usher,, Fall Out Boy, and Others Rally 250,000… and Pure Earth

Usher, No Doubt, Mary J. Blige, Fall Out Boy, Common, Train, My Morning Jacket and others rallied an estimated 250,000 people on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on April 18 in a day-long Earth Day concert organized by the … Continue reading

The Meaning of Pure Earth, and Actor Dev Patel’s Role in Our Name Change

  Blacksmith Institute has changed its name to Pure Earth.  Our work and commitment remain the same. “… in the end, it was Dev Patel, the brilliant actor who played the hero of Slumdog Millionaire, who pushed us to choose Pure Earth. … Continue reading


What did we do in 2014? We are glad to report that it was a great year of progress in the fight against toxic pollution. Here’s why: Out In The Global Field – Asia, Africa, Central Asia/Eastern Europe, Latin America … Continue reading

Focus on Research in Developing World: “We are missing the full picture”

  Over the past few years, Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth has embarked on a broad effort to expand research and understanding about the issue of toxic pollution, especially its damaging impact in low and middle-income countries, where pollution is the … Continue reading

Three Papers Published in Prestigious Journal

Our effort to expand research and understanding about toxic pollution continues this month with three papers published in the prestigious Annals of Global Health, formerly known as The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine (Volume 80, Issue 4, p245-344, e1-e11 July–August 2014).  Environmental Pollution and … Continue reading

Two Studies Reveal The Risks of India’s Unseen Pollution Menace

In India, Pure Earth has been working closely with local officials, industry and other stakeholders on the widely-documented problem of toxic pollution in the country.  In fact the government is planning on prioritizing the top ten worst polluted sites in the country for cleanup, … Continue reading

Lead Poisoning Fact Sheet: Solutions to a Global Childhood Health Threat

Facts About Lead Poisoning and Pollution: There is no known safe level of lead exposure. The CDC lowered the level of concern from 10 to 5 µg/dL (micrograms /deciliter) as the point at which to trigger public health actions. In the … Continue reading

Toxic dump at school

The Mystery of Mining Waste Dumped In An Armenian School

Beyond Akhtala, the site of our very first cleanup project in Armenia (read more in Armenia’s Toxic 10th-Century Monastery), our team came across various other polluted sites including a school, which apparently had been used as an informal dumping ground by a … Continue reading

CDC’s MMWR Features Our Findings on Lead in Kabwe’s Children

The latest issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the main resource for key public health information and recommendations from the CDC, features field notes from our July trip to Kabwe, where we found devastating levels of lead poisoning … Continue reading

Armenia’s Toxic 10th-Century Monastery (PHOTOS)

The modern world has finally caught up with Akhtala, a historic town with a 10th-century monastery and church in Armenia. Years of mining and metals processing have provided jobs to the community, but at a grave cost.  The grounds of the historic … Continue reading

Kabwe’s Children’s Silent Struggles

This guest post is from Ben Barber, who visited Kabwe with the Blacksmith for a Pure Earth team in July. We arrived last July in one of the world’s most toxic hotspots — Kabwe, a city of about 200,000 just … Continue reading

Businessweek Chronicles Dangerous Cleanup, Blacksmith/Pure Earth’s Global Successes

                  “Fuller and Pure Earth (Blacksmith) have amassed an impressive record of success. But nothing could have prepared them for a situation like the decrepit Soviet dynamite* factory.”  [*Note:  We want to … Continue reading

To Environmental Journalists: Address Underreported Issue of Toxic Pollution

  When an airliner disappears into the Indian ocean and hundreds of people are assumed dead, it’s huge news and millions are spent to find it and understand what went wrong. But in Zamfara, Nigeria, in 2010, over 200 children … Continue reading

Want lead-free food? Visit the first “Barro Aprobado” restaurant in Mexico

Across Mexico every day, millions of meals served in homes and restaurants come with an extra, unseen ingredient — toxic lead. Want lead-free food? The Casa de Campo restaurant, housed in a 260 year-old building in Cuernavaca’s historic downtown in Morelos state, is … Continue reading

A Toxic “Craft” Village in Vietnam Cleans Up (VIDEO)

Every day, trucks full of used lead-acid batteries from cars, motorbikes and other vehicles are brought in from across Vietnam to the rural village of Dong Mai in the agricultural heartland of Vietnam. Dong Mai is one of thousands of toxic “craft” villages … Continue reading

Kids in Indonesia

Soccer Field Transformed From Toxic Lead Dump To Safe Play Space

In Cinangka, Indonesia, a playground near the primary school was so toxic that parts of the field had lead levels that measured 123 times above the US EPA standard. Hundreds of children were exposed to lead poisoning every day, running … Continue reading

Fact Sheet: Mexico’s 500-year-old problem (Infographic)

Up to 20% of Mexicans have elevated blood level levels. This is from the use of traditional Mexican pottery—the colorful plates, pots and other wares that you see in almost every home and restaurant in the country. Traditional Mexican pottery has been … Continue reading

A Global Emergency: The Largest Cause of Death In The World Is Being Ignored

UPDATE:  Our voices are being heard at the U.N.  Our call to #SpotlightPollution in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is making a difference. We’ve received 26 letters of support from governments, agencies, NGOs & universities. As a result, the zero draft of … Continue reading

The Story of A Mother and the Five Children She Lost

Seynabou had ten children, but lost five of them. One by one, each of her five youngest children fell ill with the same symptoms — seizures and convulsions. One by one, they perished the same way, before the age of two. One … Continue reading

A Deadly Secret: The Story Behind The Cleanup of a Former Soviet Arms Site

Just how hard is it to clean up a toxic polluted site sitting on top of a “bomb,” at a secret site? This month’s TCE magazine features the story behind our work dealing with one of the most dangerous examples … Continue reading

Q&A with “Slumdog Millionaire”: Dev Patel on his Belated Birthday Present – A Pure Earth

Happy Birthday Dev Patel! Just three days after Patel’s 24th birthday on April 23, the young actor/activist helped Blacksmith launch a new campaign called Pure Earth at the inaugural Pure Earth benefit gala in NYC. Patel called Pure Earth “the … Continue reading

What Does A Pure Earth Look Like to Susan Sarandon, Anne Hathaway, Yoko Ono…?

What does a Pure Earth look like to you? This is what it looks like to Susan Sarandon, Anne Hathaway, Yoko Ono, Faith Ringgold and our other friends and supporters. PURE EARTH extends our deepest appreciation to the artists and celebrities … Continue reading

Tools of the Trade: The XRF Finds Toxic Hotspots in Under a Minute

It is a small but powerful tool.  The handheld XRF (X-ray fluorescence) analyzer can identify toxic particles in soil in about 30 seconds, allowing remediation crews to quickly locate and determine the extent of any contamination, and potentially begin life-saving cleanup without … Continue reading

Fact Sheet: Pollution – Facts That Might Surprise You

Think you know pollution? Here are some facts about toxic pollution that might surprise you. Pollution is one of the biggest global threats. Toxic pollution from contaminated sites affects over 200 million people worldwide, with tens of thousands poisoned each year. … Continue reading

A Shower of Toxic Lead and the Mystery of Nine Dead Cows

This is the second post from Sarita Gupta, Blacksmith’s India director, from her recent trip visiting lead smelters in India. I work for Blacksmith Institute, which cleans up toxic pollution around the world. I never imagined sitting in my New … Continue reading

Mercury, Mining and Mongolian Ninjas

This week’s post comes from Andrew McCartor, Blacksmith’s program director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, who was recently in Mongolia.   There is no preparing for the Mongolian winter. When I stepped onto the tarmac in the capital city … Continue reading

What I Wore in Jaipur… and Why it Matters

  Sarita Gupta, Blacksmith’s India director, contributes this post from India.       The fabled land of Rajasthan is known, among other things, for its vividly colored clothing. So when the opportunity came to travel for work to Jaipur, I … Continue reading

Report from India: Lead Battery Recycling the Right and Wrong Way

This report is from Conrad Meyer, chair of Blacksmith’s board of directors, who is currently in India with Blacksmith. Last week, we traveled to India to meet with the senior management of Gravita, an environmentally friendly recycler of used lead … Continue reading

At the Roof of the World in Tajikistan

This week’s post comes from Andrew McCartor, Blacksmith’s program director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, who is currently in Tajikistan. The small, mountainous country of Tajikistan is a former Soviet republic that borders Afghanistan to the south and China … Continue reading

Eliminating Obsolete Pesticides in the Former Soviet Union

Over 40% of the world’s stockpiles of obsolete pesticides, around 200,000 tons, are estimated to be still present in the former Soviet Union Republics including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Moldova and Russian Federation. Blacksmith has been invited to join … Continue reading

Snapshots of Progress in 2013 – AFRICA

Livelihood Training For Women Uncovering Senegal’s Invisible Pollution Problem Last year, Blacksmith returned to Senegal to conduct livelihood training for women so that they will not have to go back to the deadly job of backyard battery recycling in order … Continue reading

Snapshots of Progress in 2013 – LATIN AMERICA

Filipino Miners in Bolivia Roadmap For Cleanup More Pilot Projects on the Way Blacksmith brought Filipino gold miners to Latin America in 2013 to test and teach the Benguet method, (sometimes known as the “borax method“) to artisanal miners in Bolivia. If successful, … Continue reading

Snapshots of Progress in 2013 – EASTERN EUROPE/CENTRAL ASIA

Stopping A Ticking Time Bomb In The Ukraine Keeping Radiation Out of Schools In Kyrgyzstan Groundbreaking Work In Armenia Blacksmith identified and assessed 128 contaminated sites in the region, bringing the total number of polluted communities documented in Eastern Europe and … Continue reading

Snapshots of Progress in 2013 – ASIA

Prioritizing Sites For Cleanup in India Engaging the Chinese Public Vietnam’s Toxic Craft Villages Exciting things are happening in India. Blacksmith’s data on over 400 polluted sites has been integrated into a larger list commissioned by the government. This is the … Continue reading

Snapshots of Progress in 2013 – A Key Year for Research

Increased Focus on Research Training Local Researchers Research Grants Journal of Health and Pollution Expands This year saw the release of a number of key reports, including: A roadmap for pollution cleanup across Latin America The Poisoned Poor, a paper that spells out, for the first … Continue reading

(Audio) Convincing the World to Put Toxic Pollution on the Agenda for the Next Decade

We began 2014 with a message to the U.N., urging action on toxic pollution at the Seventh Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). “The SDGs will set the post-2015 global development agenda,” says Rachael Vinyard, Director … Continue reading

Roadmap For Pollution Cleanup in Latin America

A new report provides a roadmap that can be used to accelerate pollution cleanup in Latin America.  With input from experts from seven Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay) and the U.S., the report examines environmental … Continue reading

Top Ten List of Worst Polluted Places Generates Worldwide Attention, Triggers Renewed Focus on Global Problem

The conversation about pollution just got louder. Since 2006, Blacksmith’s yearly reports have been instrumental in increasing public understanding of the health impacts posed by toxic pollution, and in some cases, have compelled cleanup work at pollution hotspots. This latest … Continue reading

New List of Top Ten World’s Worst Polluted Sites Is Released

A new report released this November updates the top ten list of world’s worst polluted places previously identified in 2006 and 2007, removing sites that have made progress, and adding new sites. “Top Ten Toxic Threats in 2013: Cleanup, Progress and Ongoing Challenges” from … Continue reading

Helping Countries Abide By Minamata

Earlier this month, Pure Earth was with the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) in Minamata, Japan, to witness the landmark signing of the first international treaty to curb mercury pollution, and to help countries abide by the agreement. To … Continue reading

Training Women in Senegal

Next month, Blacksmith returns to Senegal to provide livelihood training to women so that they will not have to go back to the dangerous job of backyard battery recycling–the activity that triggered the tragic lead poisoning outbreak in 2008 that killed 32 children in Thiaroye … Continue reading

Global Alliance Pushes Help for Poisoned Poor in European Parliament

How do we begin to solve life-threatening problems facing the world’s poisoned poor? Some of the world’s leading voices came together for a seminar in Brussels this October to discuss the issue. The Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) joined … Continue reading

The Poisoned Poor – Global Alliance Highlights Invisible Sufferers

Who does toxic pollution affect the most? A global alliance has come together to issue the first comprehensive report of pollution’s impact on this invisible demographic — the poisoned poor. “The world’s poorest people routinely face the highest risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals due to their occupations, … Continue reading

Why Are Millions of Children in Mexico Still Suffering From Lead Poisoning?

In 1991, the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico was found to have high lead levels in her blood. It launched an outcry on both sides of the border against the use of toxic lead glazes in Mexican pottery, … Continue reading

Guide To Lead Cleanup Now Available; First in Series of Global Remediation Guides

The Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) has released a technical guide focused on the containment of lead, one of the world’s worst pollutants. It is the first in a planned series of guides on best practices in global … Continue reading

Fact Sheet: The Toxic Toll of Mercury – Facts, Figures and the Future of “Dancing Cat Fever” Disease

Updated 2019 It has been over 50 years since the first sign of mass mercury poisoning emerged in Minamata, Japan. Cats in the village started staggering and tilting, doing a strange “dancing cat fever.” Then people started acting the same … Continue reading

Battery Recycling Done Correctly

After visiting so many terrible, appalling, toxic backyard battery recyclers in the developing world, we thought we should see how batteries could be handled safely. Last week we visited RSR Corporation’s lead-acid battery recycling plant in Indianapolis. RSR is one … Continue reading

Engaging the Chinese Public in Environmental Issues

China is currently facing a wave of dissatisfaction over the state of pollution in the country with calls for greater transparency. A new Blacksmith project might just have a solution. This report is from Abby Schultz in Blacksmith’s China office: — The … Continue reading

Wishing for a soccer field that does not poison

              Aug, 2013. Pure Earth is launching the cleanup of a lead-contaminated soccer field in Cinangka, Indonesia, so that children in the village can play without being poisoned. The project, starting this month, is … Continue reading

Drink Wine? Support Blacksmith

We are excited to announce our recent partnership with Cellar Angels, a fast-growing wine fundraising organization that offers you a unique way to support Blacksmith while enjoying high-quality wines from Napa and Sonoma. As a personal wine concierge, Cellar Angels … Continue reading

Blacksmith recognized as one of country’s top performing nonprofits again

We have great news. Blacksmith Institute has been recognized as one of the country’s top performing nonprofits AGAIN, confirming our continued effectiveness at what we do with sound fiscal management, accountability and transparency. We retained our 4 star charity rating, … Continue reading

Pollution cleanup gets serious in Indonesia

July, 2013 You know that a government is getting serious about something when there are official workshops and conferences. We are glad to report that last month, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment hosted a meeting and panel discussion about hazardous … Continue reading

The Toxic Rice Fields of China’s Cancer Villages

The bright green rice fields planted close to the brick-and-tile homes in Shangba, a small village in northern Guangdong Province in China, paint a tranquil, rural scene typical of China’s countryside. What can’t be seen, and is difficult to imagine, … Continue reading

Paying for Pollution Cleanup in India with a Small Benefit

If you read our earlier post on India’s Amazing Pollution Story, you will know that great things are happening in that country. Plans are in the works to clean up ten of the country’s worst polluted sites, which Blacksmith helped … Continue reading

Meet Pure Earth’s Global Team

Updated Sept 2016 to reflect name change from Blacksmith Institute to Pure Earth. The Pure Earth team includes many experts from around the world, including lecturers, doctors, engineers, researchers and other pollution and public health experts.  They bring with them knowledge … Continue reading

India’s Amazing Pollution Story

Our latest post appeared in the Indiaspora blog, reproduced below. Join us on May 7, 2013 for Blacksmith’s Benefit for India. An Undesirable Export Recently, the nonprofit I work with received a letter from a man who said he was … Continue reading

Mercury Negotiations Recharged With Hot Chocolate and Cookies

I attended the INC5 mercury negotiations in Geneva last month along with members of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) from the EU, UNEP, UNIDO, and GIZ, and representatives from SAICM and various countries including Peru and Uruguay. … Continue reading

Pollution Lessons from History

News about pollution has lately been dominated by reporting on China’s increasingly toxic air, water and land.  All this attention is crucial because it is the catalyst to change. We don’t know when or where, but change is bound to … Continue reading

Protecting Children in Schools Where Uranium Was Mined For Atomic Bomb, Kyrgyzstan

Schools can sometimes be exposed to great danger. The tragedy last month in the U.S. got us thinking about what we are doing in schools in Mailuu-Suu, Kyrgyzstan. Although the threat is different, the response is the same – we … Continue reading

Blacksmith Newsletters

Welcome to Blacksmith’s Newsletter Archives. Sept/Oct 2013: Top Ten Toxic Threats in 2013 Helping Countries Abide by Minamata Bringing Poisoned Poor to the European Parliament Training Women in Senegal Why are Children in Mexico Still Suffering from Lead Global Remediation … Continue reading

Detoxing Polluted Rice Paddies With Lime

Rice Paddies are the cradle of life in many countries.  But some have become conduits of death and disease because of industrial pollution. A famous case of rice padi poisoning was documented in Toyama prefecture in Japan in the 1960s. … Continue reading

From Elections to Pollution – Data is Key

One of the most interesting outcomes of this U.S. election is that it has reminded us that data is king.

Continue reading

Working with the “enemy”

I see the “us” and “them” mentality all too often especially when pollution is involved.  Take legacy pollution for example. Legacy pollution refers to what is left behind after the source of the contamination – say a polluting factory – … Continue reading

One-Stop Shop For Pollution Solutions

Retailers figured it out a long time ago. They could improve business if they made shopping easier. So they began to offer consumers everything they might need under one roof. Hence the success and popularity of one-stop shops. In a … Continue reading

A Love Letter to Neglected and Reviled Places

When Andrew Blackwell was researching his new book Visit Sunny Chernobyl, he contacted us to learn a little more about our work and about Blacksmith’s list of world’s worst polluted places. Turns out he was visiting some of these very same hotspots. … Continue reading

Gold Mining in Tanzania

Recently, a young environmentalist, who had done some work for Blacksmith, returned from Tanzania with some fascinating photographs and stories to share. Madeline and her friend Evan were there to help the Kilimanjaro Hope Organization (KIHO), a small NGO established … Continue reading

New Lead Limits for U.S. Children Expose Plight of Others

The CDC recently lowered the recommended limit for lead exposure in young children from 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, to 5. This means that lead levels above 5 ug dl in children will now be considered unsafe. … Continue reading

A Tour of Asia’s Toxic Hotspots

Recently, John Keith, Blacksmith’s globe-trotting expert, led an armchair tour of Asia’s toxic hotspots for a group in NYC.  An environmental engineer, John has worked on numerous projects in 72 countries and counting, and he has plenty of stories to tell. … Continue reading

Incubating Ideas for Change at the Bellagio Center

This July, we are returning to the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy to convene a third meeting of world leaders and experts on pollution, this time to create a global alliance to deal with legacy pollution at scale. Our … Continue reading

Ancient City’s Lead Poisoning Problem – 40,000 Preschoolers At Risk

This week’s blog post is from Andrew McCartor, Blacksmith’s regional program director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Blacksmith was recently approached for help to raise awareness about the massive toxic pollution caused by an active lead smelter in the … Continue reading

Blacksmith’s Pollution Tipping Point with Karti Sandilya

In Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book The Tipping Point, he describes how little things can make a big difference, and he points to “connectors” – people who provide links to others – as a crucial element for bringing something to a … Continue reading

Filipino Gold Miner’s Mercury-Free Revolution

A movement is taking root in the small province of Benguet in the Philippines that might just revolutionize the artisanal gold mining industry and greatly reduce worldwide toxic mercury emissions. Gold miners there are rediscovering a century-old method of gold … Continue reading

Doe Run Peru – A Solution in Sight

The embattled Doe Run lead smelting facility in Peru may finally be getting a break. We met with Dr. Juan Carlos Huyhua, the president of Doe Run Peru, in New York last week to get an update on the situation. … Continue reading

A Solution To India’s Pollution Nightmare

I recently came across the article India’s Pollution Nightmare:  Can it be Tackled?, in which the author, Govindasamy Agoramoorthy, talks about three big perils plaguing India – polluting tanneries, lead contamination from informal battery recycling, and riverside industries that dump toxic waste into … Continue reading

“Orphaned” Sites and Legacy Pollution

When people talk of tackling pollution, they usually mean stopping pollution. But what if the pollution has already been halted, in some cases decades ago?  For example at numerous former Cold War weapons manufacturing sites? See examples of legacy polluted … Continue reading

“Sensationalist” claim about tanneries and pollution

We were recently criticized by an industry group of leather manufacturers for listing tannery operations #5 on the 2011 list of world’s worst toxic pollution problems. The group called our report’s assertions “sensationalist and not appropriate.” (Read our response in … Continue reading

Surprise – Corporations NOT the Worst Pollution Problems

Contrary to popular belief, large multinational corporations are NOT the worst pollution problems.  That was one of the more interesting findings revealed in our 2011 World’s Worst Toxic Pollution Problems report. Of course large corporations are associated with pollution, like … Continue reading

Top Ten Things You Might Not Know About Pollution

See updated version: 15 Pollution Facts that Might Surprise You Pollution is a topic that often gets buried by talk of conservation, climate change, sustainability and energy issues.  Perhaps because it is a complex subject with lots of sources and … Continue reading

Talking About Pollution in NYC on Oct. 24

What is Pollution? Once you know the facts, talking about pollution is crucial, as I’ve mentioned in my last two blog postings. So this month, we are launching The Blacksmith Institute Pollution Talks – finally giving a name to the … Continue reading

What is Pollution?

It’s Pollution Prevention Week. Chances are, you’ve not really heard about it. In my last post, I wrote about the Brown Agenda vs. the Green Agenda. Pollution is part of the Brown Agenda.  I bet you haven’t heard a lot … Continue reading

The Brown Agenda

  Update:  Aug, 2015.   “The Brown Agenda” is now a best-selling book.  Pure Earth founder Richard Fuller has chronicled his experiences doing cleanup in some of the world’s worst polluted places to highlight the issue at the ground level, and … Continue reading

An 8 Million Ton Problem

Dr. B. Sengupta recently sat down with Sarita Gupta to talk about India’s growing toxic waste problem – by his count, India generates over 8 million tons of toxic waste every year but only has the capacity to deal with … Continue reading

“Miracle” Mercury Recapturing Machine

August 2011 This is what I like to call our “miracle” mercury recapturing machine. Using simple, low-cost retorts like the one pictured here, Pure Earth has been able to reduce the amount of toxic mercury released into the atmosphere by … Continue reading

China’s Latest Bad Press

I was in Beijing last week when news broke of a series of lead poisoning outbreaks in China, followed closely by a Human Right Watch report on China’s response to its toxic lead problem. (Here are links to the New … Continue reading

Meeting President Medvedev on Russia’s Pollution Crisis

Petr Sharov, Blacksmith’s Russia and Central Asia coordinator, attended a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev at the Kremlin in Moscow on June 8, along with representatives from 24 other NGOs working in Russia. At the informal meeting, which took place … Continue reading

Blacksmith Wins Green Star Award for Work in Environmental Emergencies

Blacksmith Institute has won the prestigious Green Star Award for excellence in preventing, preparing for and responding to environmental emergencies. A joint initiative between the United Nations Environmental Program, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Green … Continue reading

Pollution: Top Six Toxic Threats

My last post pointed to new studies that indicate chronic mercury exposure in the U.S. has risen dramatically. In fact, mercury is identified as one of the Top Six Toxic Threats in Blacksmith Institute’s most recent report, which draws on … Continue reading

Toxic Mercury Exposure: Huge Increase in U.S., 500,000 Children At Risk

Chronic mercury exposure in the U.S. has risen dramatically, not only in numbers of people affected but also in amounts. A study by Professor Dan Laks found that mercury was detected in only 2% of the blood samples collected over … Continue reading

Video: Chernobyl Elementary School, Central Square

It’s been 25 years since the meltown at Chernobyl and the abandoned town of Pripyat still echoes with tragedy.  Those of you who saw our virtual tour via our blog posts of April 4 and April 6 would already have … Continue reading

Radiation 101: What is it, how much is dangerous, and how does Fukushima compare to Chernobyl?

Our last blog post about Chernobyl generated a lot of interest among our friends, but seemed to raise more questions than it answered. Many people asked for more basic information about radiation and more comparisons between Chernobyl and Japan, and safe levels versus dangerous levels. In light of that, we have compiled this follow-up post. Continue reading

Virtual Tour of Chernobyl

Take a virtual tour of Chernobyl and the ghost city of Pripyat at the Blacksmith Institute blog. Continue reading

Vietnam’s Toxic “Craft” Villages

When an American plane went down in North Vietnam during the war, the story goes that a villager knew how to smelt down the plane for valuable aluminum. And that was how the aluminum village began. Today, it is one … Continue reading

Toxic Pollution in Poor Countries – Introducing “JH&P”

Blacksmith Institute has published the first issue of The Journal of Health and Pollution, a semiannual, on-line, open-access publication of peer-reviewed research and news. “JH&P” can be found at Included in the inaugural edition are invited commentaries: Environmental Pollution … Continue reading

Clean Soil, Wheelbarrows, Officials…Latest on Nigerian Lead Removal

Reporting in before the holiday break, John Keith, Blacksmith Institute’s on-scene project manager at the Zamfara, Nigeria, lead contamination remediation project, says landfills have been construction at all five villages in the original project scope and clean soil brought to … Continue reading

El Salvador Remedy May Happen at Last

It has been three years of tense litigation between El Salvador’s Attorney General’s office and the Grupo Record lead-acid battery facility since Blacksmith Institute’s first visit in 2008.  After his meeting with Herman Rosa Chavez, Salvadorian Minister of the Environment, … Continue reading

“Unprecedented” Emergency in Nigeria

As you might have noticed, there has not been a new post lately on The Pollution Blog.  Part of the reason is that I have been busy with the recent and ongoing lead poisoning emergency in Nigeria. This is a … Continue reading

Get The Lead Out

A few days ago, we held our special Earth Day event– “Get the Lead Out”–at Rockefeller Plaza in NYC to raise funds and awareness of lead pollution and poisoning around the world. Everyone who came was offered a free and … Continue reading

Earth Day in the Developing World

It has been 40 years since the very first Earth Day. No doubt, things have changed for the better, at least here in the U.S. Our environment is much cleaner, and life-threatening pollution of the kind brought to light by … Continue reading

Report from Agbogbloshie, Ghana

This week, I will hand this space off to Jack Caravanos, a member of Blacksmith’s Technical Advisory Board and a leading expert in lead pollution/contamination. Jack is part of part of a project in Ghana jointly funded by Blacksmith and … Continue reading

Better Living Through Green Chemistry

Finally the drumbeat is getting louder on the issue of environmental toxins and I say it is about time. Last month, NYT’s Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed on the link between autism (and other diseases) and environmental toxins.  Now, Time … Continue reading

Pink Crocodiles and the New Front Against Pollution in India

I just returned from India last week, where I heard about crocodiles that have reportedly turned pink, and whose tongues have gone white because of dyes polluting the rivers.  I also heard about workers making bangles who contract cancer after … Continue reading

Read All About it – God’s Paradise Starts to Shed World’s Worst Polluted Label

“God’s Paradise Will be Removed from World’s Worst Polluted Places” “Declared Green Zone at God’s Paradise – Happiness Where There Was Once Contamination.” “Park Provides Health at God’s Paradise” These local headlines tell the story. Twelve days ago, Paraíso de … Continue reading

Off to India to Speak about Pollution and Economic Development

I am heading off to India, today, where I will be the keynote speaker at a gathering about toxic pollution, cleanup and economic development.  I believe this session will spark increasing cleanup efforts in India because of the presenting parties … Continue reading

Environmental Toxins, Autism and Cancer

Did you see Nicholas Kristof’s op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times on the link between autism (and other diseases like cancers) and environmental toxins?  Kristof points to concern about American’s using plastic containers to microwave food, and using products with … Continue reading

Innovations and Collaborations this September

I am glad to report that the Rockefeller Foundation has invited us back to the Bellagio Center in Italy this September to reconvene the next international meeting about the Health and Pollution Fund (HPF) – the planned $500 million public … Continue reading

Pollution and Vaccines

An interesting new perspective has opened up on the dangers of pollution.  While most people know that pollution poisons, it now seems that the immune system is especially affected by contaminants.  Pollution appears to skew the body away from making … Continue reading

Pollution, Poverty and the I.Q. Connection

Does pollution plague a country because it is poor? Or does pollution make a country poor? While the case for the former can be easily made — poorer nations have less resources for cleanup and regulations; the case for the … Continue reading

Back from Mexico – Removing Lead from a Tradition

Just returned from Mexico with Blacksmith’s globe-trotting program officer Bret Ericson (who’s also the task manager for our global inventory project).  For me, Mexico always brings to mind wonderful, colorful pottery, perhaps because there is a such a strong ceramics … Continue reading

How to Build the World’s First Database of Polluted Sites

It’s been a good start to the year for us on the funding side. We just received confirmation that we will be getting a $900,000 infusion to complete work on our Global Inventory Project, which is about one-third done (see … Continue reading

Video of gold miners in Indonesia – Mercury: The Burning Issue

I first blogged about the toxic connection between gold and mercury back in December in my post All That Glitters, when the price of gold reached a record high.  Back then, we asked you to join our December Holiday Challenge … Continue reading

Global Team Profile: Dr. Phil Landrigan
A Champion For Children Dr. Philip Landrigan

When Dr. Philip J. Landrigan was asked what he thought was the most important thing people can do to save the planet, his answer was “protect children from toxic environments.” Pollutants, especially lead and pesticides, have been the focus of … Continue reading

Save a Life this Holiday Season

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  I am taking this shameless opportunity to remind everyone out there that there’s still time to take Blacksmith Institute’s $5 a Day December Holiday Challenge!  So if you are still wondering what to get that somebody who has … Continue reading

Potty Training Pigs and Other Great Solutions

I was going to write about Copenhagen and “climategate” today … but then I came across a curious piece of news about potty training pigs! It seems a farmer in Taiwan has trained his pigs to use a litter box, … Continue reading