Solve pollution. Save lives. Protect the planet.



About Pure Earth India

Pure Earth has been active in India since 2006. Since then, Pure Earth and its local partners have conducted thousands of blood lead level tests of children under five years of age and pregnant women, identified 716 contaminated sites, and completed rapid screening assessments at 500 of these. Pure Earth has also conducted a number of risk-reduction projects across India and has engaged with the government on a variety of pollution issues.

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Pure Earth India Strategy

1. Convincing key stakeholders
1. Convincing key stakeholders

We are continuously working to bring in new, credible and impactful voices from government, issue experts, journalists, the private sector and philanthropies to initiate and strengthen action on lead exposure solutions, particularly for lead-laden aluminum cookware, local paint, toys, adulterated spices and unsound used lead acid battery recycling.

We brought together manufacturers, recyclers, distributors, regulators, scientists, and philanthropists of lead-acid batteries in India to recommend improvements in BWMR 2022 and facilitate the faster adoption of good practices. Additionally, we established and are active members of the India Working Group (IWG), which includes experts from health, policy, governance and execution, science and research, media and communications, industry and social impact. The IWG meets quarterly to deliberate and further advocate on the most pressing and feasible actions to reduce lead exposure in India.

2. Blood lead surveillance
2. Blood lead surveillance

We are conducting statewide blood lead level (BLL) surveys in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.In July 2023, concluded Blood Lead Level (BLL) survey among 697 children and 55 pregnant women in 8 Bihar districts (Patna, Nawada, Vaishali, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Purnea, West Champaran & Gaya). The results indicated that more than 90% of children in urban Bihar and more than 80% of children in rural Bihar have BLL above 5 µg/dL. With the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and State Health Departments, we are advocating for the launch of population-level Blood Lead Surveillance. This will help in identifying the prevalence of lead poisoning, and its hotspots across the nation.

3. Lead contamination and source identification
3. Lead contamination and source identification

We have identified and assessed more than 500 sites in India for toxic contamination under the Toxic Site Identification Program (TSIP). The majority of these sites are contaminated due to unsafe battery recycling. The First lead source-apportionment study conducted by Pure Earth in Patna in 2020 identified spices, mainly lead-laden turmeric and red chili powder. These spices are the main ingredients of all Indian meals consumed daily. Hence, the interest in monitoring Lead-contamination is crucial. According to three states, Maharastra, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; Rapid Market Screening Program (RMS), the products most commonly contaminated with lead in India are Aluminum cookware & food wares, ceramic food wares, toys, local paint, spices, khol eyeliner.

4. Source-specific risk reduction interventions
4. Source-specific risk reduction interventions

Toxic site remediation: We executed the first lead risk reduction project in Patna in the year 2018 and the second in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, in the year 2020, both around informal battery makers located in close proximity to an elementary school. We, along with local partners and community participation, closed the sub-standard operations of the ULAB, successfully remediated the soil contamination, and cleaned the homes and school’s interior of lead dust.

We have approached the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Center/State Pollution Control Board with requests and support for the adoption and better implementation of standards and rules to regulate lead contamination and its exposure.

5. Information, education and communication
5. Information, education and communication

Widespread lack of awareness about the issue and the solutions, or, where there may be some awareness, a lack of understanding about the breadth, seriousness and long-term impacts of lead perpetuates inertia.

We have been posting short videos and messages on social media; organising public events and reaching out to larger audiences through the Internet, blogs, print media and TV. We believe this lead pollution crisis can be solved, Together, we can solve pollution, save lives, and protect the planet.

Cleaning up lead pollution, protecting school children in Karlmalichak, India
Video credit: Thomas Cristofoletti/USAID

Click to view video in Hindi

India could save over 10 lakhs of lives and 9% of GDP by solving lead pollution.


The Lancet Planetary Health published an article on September 12th 2023 led by World Bank researchers stating that the global cardiovascular disease​ mortality from lead exposure of 5·5 million deaths in 2019​ is six times higher than the earlier estimate (0·85 million)​ in GBD (Global Burden of Disease) 2019. This is close to the number of estimated global​ deaths from PM 2·5, ambient and household air pollution combined (6·45 million), and more than three times the number of estimated global deaths from unsafe household drinking water, sanitation, and handwashing (1·66 million).​ The research estimated that worldwide, children younger than 5 years, lost 765 million IQ (Intelligence Quotient) points from lead exposure. The new research also estimates the lead exposure impact on the economy, US$6.0 trillion is equivalent to 6·9% of 2019 global gross domestic product.

Drawn from the latest 12th September Lancet paper, in the year 2019, approximately 10 lakhs or 19% of global estimated adult deaths from cardiovascular disease associated with lead exposure, were in India. India lost up to 15.4 crore or 20% of the total estimated IQ points lost in children under the age of five. The financial cost of lead exposure to India was US$259 billion, equivalent to 9% of India’s 2019 GDP.

News Coverage, stay up to date with our work:


Hidden Hazards: Protecting Maternal Health from Toxic Chemical Pollution

07:30pm, March 5, 2024 (In celebration of International Women’s Day 2024, join us for an insightful Webinar)

Global program launch: Strengthening Health Systems to Reduce Lead Exposure


Seminar: Understanding Lead Poisoning Prevalence in India

October 11th, 2022, 03:00 – 05:00 PM (IST)

International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

October 24-30th, 2021

Our Partners and Donors

  • Public Health Foundation of India
  • India Society for Lead Awareness and Research
  • India Lead-Zinc Development Association
  • NITI-Aayog
  • International Lead Association
  • World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance
  • ERM
  • Trafigura Foundation 
  • GiveWell
  • Takeda Pharmaceutical
  • Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur
  • The Energy and Resources Institute
  • Pahle India Foundation
  • Vellore Institute of Technology
  • Institute for Environment & Eco-Development
  • Mahavir Cancer Institute & Research Centre
  • Indian Society for Lead Awareness and Research 
  • Vital Strategies
  • Central Pollution Control Board
  • Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board 
  • Bihar Pollution Control Board
  • Indian Academy of Pediatrics
  • The Trained Nurses’ Association of India

Delhi Office
2nd Floor, Desein House Building,
Savitri Cinema Complex,
Greater Kailash 2, New Delhi, 110048


Contact us

Director Advocacy and Communications
[email protected]