Solve pollution. Save lives. Protect the planet.



March 7, 2022
New York, NY

The former EPA Administrator will be honored for her lifelong leadership in the fight to protect children from toxic pollution, along with Christina Malle, a goldsmith and responsible jewelry advocate, and Dr. Netzy Peralta, an anthropologist working with indigenous artisans in Mexico.

Pure Earth, a global nonprofit focused on solving the pollution crisis in low- and middle-income countries, will recognize three remarkable women with the 2022 “Force of Nature” Award in an event to be streamed live on International Women’s Day on March 8. The three awardees are representative of the efforts of countless women around the world working every day to solve pollution, protect their families and communities, and advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable.

The profound impact that pollution has on maternal and child health demands action, and these women have devoted decades to crafting solutions in government and policy making, private entrepreneurship, and community-level interventions. They have each led the fight in their own sectors to raise awareness and implement practical solutions to urgent environmental health issues impacting women and children.

Pure Earth’s 2022 Honorees are:

Carol M. Browner, the longest serving Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), current Senior Counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, and Board Chair, League of Conservation Voters.

Carol Browner’s lifelong dedication to protecting vulnerable populations and promoting environmental equity defines a true “Force of Nature.” She has been instrumental supporting our work at Pure Earth as a chief architect of Protecting Every Child’s Potential, a new partnership with industry, aimed at solving the global lead poisoning crisis. The stakes are high with 800 million children in low- and middle-income countries being exposed to levels of lead high enough to cause permanent brain damage. Forming this unique initiative with founding members, Pure Earth, Clarios Foundation and UNICEF, was a challenge, but Carol has a unique appreciation of the power of this type of partnership to make an impact and improve the lives of children around the world,” says Pure Earth founder Richard Fuller.

As the longest serving Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Browner’s visionary leadership changed the way the U.S. and the world approach pollution and public health. Among her numerous achievements, Carol championed the EPA’s first policy effort to address health risks to children from exposure to environmental hazards, and established EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection.

Christina Malle, is a former human rights lawyer, turned goldsmith and advocate for a traceable and transparent jewelry supply chain. Christina has been a firm supporter of Pure Earth’s work training artisanal gold miners to  go mercury free, and helping them to restore and reforest areas of the Amazon rainforest damaged by gold mining.

Christina Malle is a catalyst for progress and action on raising public awareness in the mining sector and on the benefits of mercury-free artisanal gold mining. Her own jewelry line is a celebration of nature’s seascapes and landscapes and her craft demonstrates her commitment to responsibility and transparency. Christina has worked tirelessly to spread that message to clients and colleagues, and she has been leading the way, supporting Pure Earth’s efforts to help artisanal gold miners go mercury-free. We know her passion is making an impact not only on reducing pollution, but also in improving the lives of miners and their families. And that is why we believe she is a force to recognize and celebrate, says Francois Guillon, Trustee on Pure Earth’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Netzy Peralta is an anthropologist with the Pure Earth Mexico team. Her personal connection to the indigenous community and insight into local cultural traditions is critical to Pure Earth’s work transitioning traditional potters in Mexico to using safe, lead-free glazes. Netzy Peralta is an expert in social anthropology, who earned her PhD with a thesis on the potters of Tlayacapan from her home state of Morelos. As a member of the Nahua community, the largest indigenous group in Mexico, Netzy brings unique insight and understanding of the communities she works with. Her close connections allow her to effectively communicate with and organize communities to take action on lead poisoning caused by lead-glazed ceramics which impacts up to 30% of Mexicans. Currently, she splits her time teaching at the University of Morelos and working with Pure Earth to help artisanal potters go lead free, and to empower women potters to become leaders in the effort. Her passion and commitment to improving lives is truly a force to be reckoned with. Daniel Estrada, Pure Earth Mexico Director.

Why Women?

Pure Earth’s experts report that once educated on the dangers and sources of toxins, it is often the women in the community who take charge and push for change to protect their children. They are among the most vocal and active advocates, participating in workshops learning how to clean up pollutants, reduce exposures, and make work practices safer. Pollution is an under-recognized maternal and child health issue. Exposures to dangerous chemicals have a multigenerational impact on women and families. Pregnant women can transmit toxins to their infants in utero and via breast milk. Toxic exposures have been linked to preterm births, infant mortality and developmental disabilities. Lead and mercury are increasingly making their way into kitchens around the globe through baby food, tuna, spices and cookware.

Launch of Pure Earth’s Kitchen Cookbook

The event will also feature a cooking demonstration by Chef Graciela Montaño of Aura Cocina Mexicana. Chef Graciela is a Pure Earth ambassador who is committed to solving lead exposure from lead-glazed cooking pottery, and keeping toxic heavy metals out of all kitchens. Event attendees will receive a copy of the new Pure Earth’s Kitchen cookbook Chef Graciela has curated, featuring recipes from leading Mexican and Indian chefs, with tips on how to keep your kitchen and family safe from toxins.

For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact Mag Sim at (212) 870-3490, [email protected].

About Pure Earth
Pure Earth is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and improving lives and protecting the planet by reducing disease causing pollution and cleaning up toxic hot spots in low its inception in 1999, Pure Earth and its field teams have completed more than 120 income countries. Since projects in 27 countries using best in class science, analytics, and engineering practices to identify toxic hot spots and teach communities how to improve soil, water, and air quality with pragmatic, cost effective solutions. Pollution is the largest environmental cause of death and disease in the world, stealing 9 million lives each year , and disabling hundreds of millions of children . Pure Earth prioritizes actions that protect the developing brains an d bodies of children and pregnant women living in toxic hot spots with a specific emphasis on lead and mercury exposure. Partnering with governments, communities, and industry leaders, Pure Earth aims to elevate pollution as a global priority, create sustainable change, and support a healthier future.

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