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 remediation.

Produced by GAHP’s Technical Advisory Group, which consists of experts in the field, including Blacksmith Technical Advisory Board, the guides provide a valuable framework to help those implementing cleanup projects in countries where relevant regulations and institutional controls are still being established and where there is limited practical expertise in remediation.

“These guides help to pass the experience gained in industrialized countries on remediation projects over several decades to those who are just beginning new programs. By sharing these resources, the GAHP hopes to make remediation easier and encourage more cleanup worldwide,” says David Hanrahan, Blacksmith’s Principal Technical Advisor and Convenor of the TAG at the GAHP.

The lead guide, for example, sets out the criteria for disposing of the toxic material in an engineered facility, based on approved approaches and practices internationally, which can be followed locally.

Read the rest of the Sept/Oct newsletter

Pure Earth Newsletters

Welcome to Pure Earth’s Newsletter Archives.

Spring 2015

July 2014:

  • New Analysis: Pollution #1 Cause of Death
  • U.N. Responds to Our Call to #SpotlightPollution in the SDGs
  • Breaking Mexico’s 500-Year-Old Toxic Tradition
  • Soccer Field Transformed from Toxic Lead Dump To Safe Play Space
  • A Toxic “Craft” Village in Vietnam Cleans Up
  • How Hard Is It To Clean Up A Secret Toxic Site Sitting On Top Of A Bomb?

Dec 2013/Jan 2014:

  • What will the world focus on over the next decade?
  • Eliminating pesticides in former Soviet Union
  • Snapshots of progress in 2013 in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe/Central Asia
  • A key year in research


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 Guides

July/Aug 2013:

  • Involving the Chinese public in pollution cleanup
  • Wishing for a Soccer Field that does not Kill
  • Fishponds in one of the World’s Worst Polluted Rivers get Help
  • Blacksmith Recognized As One Of Country’s Top Performing Nonprofits Again
  • Sept. 1 Deadline Fast Approaching For New Blacksmith/AuthorAID
  • The New Journal of Health and Pollution is Out

May/June 2013:

  • Fighting Toxic Pollution with Research
  • Database of Global Hotspots Goes Public
  • First Trial of Borax Method
  • Toxic Rice Fields of China
  • Blacksmith Addresses Toxic Trail of Old Batteries in the New York Times
  • VIDEO:  Mexico’s Pretty but Poisonous Problem
  • 2012 Annual Report is Released

March/April 2013:

  • Meet Our Global Team
  • Borax Research Paper
  • New Online Resource Pools Global Pollution Knowledge
  • Focus on India
  • VIDEO: A Coversation with Dr. Alexey Yablokov about Fukushima, Chernobyl and the Staggering Impact of Pollution

Jan/Feb 2013:

  • Blacksmith Introduces Global Alliance at INC5
  • Key INC5 Agreement Details
  • New Report on Rising Threat of Mercury; New Project Launches in Indonesia
  • Blacksmith and Vance Center Collaborate to Create Legal Guide for Contaminated Site Management
  • AuthorAID Seeks Mentors for Researchers
  • Nominations for Green Star Awards Due March 15

Nov/Dec 2012:

  • Top 5 Ways We Beat Back Pollution in 2012

Sept/Oct 2012:

  • The 2012 World’s Worst Pollution Problems Report Reveals Impact Across 49 Countries
  • In the News: The 2012 World’s Worst Pollution Problems Report
  • Thank You! Blacksmith’s Annual Golf Benefit Raises Thousands for Pollution Cleanup

July/Aug 2012:

  • Unprecedented Global Alliance Forms to Fight Pollution
  • Blacksmith Keeps Mercury Cleanup in Focus at INC4
  • Essential Reading: Q&A with Author of “Visit Sunny Chernobyl,” and More
  • Save the date: Blacksmith’s Annual Golf Benefit

May/June 2012:

  • Filtering Radiation Out of Water in Kyrgyzstan’s Schools
  • India: Small Projects in India with Big Potential
  • Blacksmith Small Research Grants
  • World Meeting on Pollution in Bellagio,
  • Toxic Sites Identification Program Paper Published

March/April 2012:

  • Filipino Miner’s Borax Secret
  • Pakistan’s Pesticide Pollution Problem
  • “Heroic NGO Takes on Big Job of Global Toxic Cleanup”
  • Global Workshops in Armenia, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay
  • Blacksmith Addresses Leather Industry
  • The iPad and 6 Million Tons of E-Waste
  • Blacksmith Gathers Support in Hong Kong

January 2012:

  • Ghana: Sodom and Gomorrah E-Wasteland
  • Blacksmith and World Bank Look After “Orphaned” Sites
  • China: Blacksmith Adds Experts
  • “Sensationalist” Claim

November 2011:

  • New Report List Top Ten World’s Worst Toxic Pollution Problems With A Big Surprise

October 2011:

  • Ten Things You Might Not Know About Pollution
  • New Pollution Report Due in November
  • An Engineer Without Borders
  • Thank You – Golf Benefit Raises Thousands

September 2011:

  • What is Pollution?
  • Golf Benefit To Raise Funds for Global Cleanup
  • Looking Ahead: China 2011-2014

August 2011:

  • Indonesia: “Miracle” Mercury Machine
  • Asia: Blacksmith Identifies 600 Polluted Sites
  • India: An 8 Million Ton Toxic Waste Problem
  • China: Partners Gather; New Focus on Heavy Metals

June 2011:

  • Russia: Meeting Medvedev on Russia’s Pollution Crisis
  • Philippines: National Summit Produces Five-Year Plan
  • China: Bad Press, Good Press
  • El Salvador: Contemplating a Nationwide “Superfund” Program
  • Blacksmith Featured As UNEP Expert

May 2011:

  • Blacksmith Wins UN-Backed Green Star Award for Work in Environmental Emergencies
  • Save the Date: Blacksmith Golf Benefit Tees Off Oct. 3
  • Mercury Exposure Rises Dramatically in the U.S.; One of Top Six Toxic Threats
  • Paradise Remade: Cleanup of One of the World’s Worst Polluted Places

April 2011:

  • Vietnam’s Toxic Craft Villages
  • Success Story: Nigeria Lead Poisoning Cleanup Report
  • A Tour of Chernobyl: 25 years Later; How Much Radiation is Dangerous?
  • Call for Papers: The Journal of Health and Pollution

February 2011:

  • Comprehensive Philippine Lead Remediation Starts Shortly
  • Introducing New Additions to the Blacksmith Team
  • Jakarta Lead Poisoning Initiative Enters Remediation Stage
  • Upcoming Speaking Engagements for Blacksmith President Richard Fuller
  • Toxic Pollution in Poor Countries – Introducing “JH&P”

January 2011:


  • Blacksmith to publish peer-reviewed journal on health and pollution
  • Upcoming press conference on lead glaze use in Mexican ceramics
  • Thank you donors for your generous holiday support
  • Bloomberg reports on continuing lead poisoning outbreak in Nigeria
  • Links to more stories and project updates

September 2010:

  • Philippines: River Cleanup Award
  • Ghana: “Sodom and Gomorrah” E-wasteland
  • Reminder: Charity Event to Raise Awareness about Global Killer, Fund Cleanup

July 2010:

  • Nigeria: Emergency Update
  • Senegal: Closing the Chapter on a Tragedy

June 2010:

May 2010:

  • “The Invisible Pollution” – Video of Panel Discussion in India
  • China: Replicating a Wetlands Treatment System
  • Ghana: Global Inventory Project Expands into West Africa
  • Mexico: Removing Lead from a Tradition
  • Mexico: New Proponent
  • Blacksmith Institute 2009 Annual Report
  • In The News
  • Blacksmith Video Spotlight

April 2010:

  • VIDEO: The Story of Lead – A Tour Through 4 Polluted Sites
  • Ghana: Report and Video from the Agbogbloshie E-Wasteland

March 2010:

  • Pink Crocodiles in India
  • Senegal: PRI’s The World Reports on Lead in Senegal
  • Dominican Republic: New Park, Fresh Start in God’s Paradise
  • Philippines: Tapping Human Ecology to Clean Up Pollution

Feb. 2010:

  • The Pollution Connection: Vaccines, Poverty, IQ and Autism
  • Philippines: Pollution Research Project Wins Science Prize
  • Philippines: Volunteers
  • Russia: Saving Children and the Russian Desman Too

Jan. 2010:

  • New Grant for Global Inventory
  • Lead Cleanup Continues in Senegal
  • Mercury: The Burning Issue (Video of artisanal gold mines in Indonesia)
  • A Champion for Children – Dr. Philip J. Landrigan

Dec. 2009:

  • Save a Life this December
  • Behind the Global Inventory Project
  • Making A List and Checking it off

Nov. 2009:

  • Going Online to Take Pollution Offline
  • The End of Pollution? New Report Highlights Top 12 Pollution Solutions That May Pave The Way
  • “Lead Head” Scientist Travels the World for Blacksmith
  • Golf Benefit Raises Money for Cleanup
  • Babies and Lead
  • Dominican Republic: Paraíso de Dios Receives Additional Help
  • Philippines: Floods and Landslides Affect Pollution Cleanup Projects

Oct. 2009 Special Bulletin – Release of 2009 Blacksmith report

Sept. 2009

  • New Blacksmith Report Out This Fall
  • IAEA Taps Blacksmith’s Expertise for “Toxic Playpen
  • Philippines: Toxic Stew Contaminates Essential River System
  • Bringing People Together to Fight Pollution in India

Aug. 2009 – Cleaning up Kindergartens, New Projects Launch

  • Blacksmith Golf Benefit
  • Call for 2009 Nominations
  • Russia: Success Story–Playgrounds, Sandboxes, Kindergartens Get Cleaned Up
  • China: E-Waste Project Launches
  • Mexico: Removing Toxic Lead from Ceramics
  • Indonesia: Looking for Asia’s Most Polluted Sites
  • India: Vapi Removed from World’s Worst List
  • Blacksmith Board Member Invests in a Clean World

July 2009 – Pollution:  A Global Killer, a Solvable Problem

  • Pollution: A Global Killer, A Solvable Problem
  • Peru: New York Times and BBC Spotlights Blacksmith Project in La Oroya
  • Senegal: Blacksmith Goes from House to House, Preparing for Children’s Return
  • Ukraine: Another Chernobyl?
  • India: Toxin-Eating Worms to Take on Golden Corridor
  • More Experts Volunteer for Blacksmith Projects
  • Health and Pollution Fund

Top Ten Things You Might Not Know About Pollution

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 lots of effects.  While all the above issues are important, let’s give pollution some of the talk time it deserves.

Think you know about pollution?  Read on:

Top Ten Things You Might Not Know About Pollution

1) Pollution is one of the biggest global killers, affecting over 100 million people.

It is comparable in population and risk to human health to problems like malaria and HIV.

2) Pollution is one global problem that can be solved in our lifetime

Life-threatening pollution has already been eliminated in much of the developed world through initiatives like the U.S.’s Superfund. The technology and know-how to clean up toxic pollution already exists. All that’s needed is resources and commitment.

3) There is a finite number of polluted sites in the world

While the number of polluted hotspots may increase, it is a finite figure. Currently, Blacksmith Institute’s database of polluted sites lists over 2000 of the world’s worst polluted places. Blacksmith is working to prioritize these sites for cleanup targeting the communities with the most at-risk populations.

4) Pollution solutions are relatively low-cost

The cost to save a human life through the removal of hazardous pollution on Blacksmith projects can be as little as $42. $20,000 is enough to start a project that saves lives.

5) Children are most susceptible to Pollution

While children only make up 10% of the world’s population, over 40% of the global burden of disease falls on them. More than three million children under age five die annually from environmental factors.

6) Pollution is mainly caused by small-scale informal operations rather than large multi-national companies

However, demand for consumer goods from high-income countries still drive pollution activities in low-income countries.

7) Pollution does not stop even when the source of the pollution is removed

For example when polluting factories are closed, legacy pollution remains. If it is not removed, legacy pollution continues to sicken and kill.

8 ) Pollution can vastly lower life expectancy

In some of the world’s worst polluted places life expectancy can be as low as as 45 years because of lung, throat and thyroid cancers.

9) Death is not the only end result

Pollution causes chronic illness, neurological damage and a range of diseases that might not kill but might incapacitate a person or result in irreversible damage. For instance, the presence of lead in children lowers I.Q. by an estimated 4-7 points for each increase of 10 μg/dL.

10) Pollution affects everyone

While pollution affects the immediate population the most, its effects are felt far and wide because of the globalized economy. In addition, some pollutants like mercury travels and drops into rivers and seas worldwide, poisoning the seafood supply.

Read my earlier post:  What is Pollution?