“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 he became blind.”
Six-year-old Lukman was a victim of one of the worst cases of mass lead poisoning, which killed at least 400 children and affected thousands of others in Nigeria five years ago. Now it is happening again.
A new lead poisoning outbreak has reportedly claimed the lives of 28 young children in Nigeria, most under the age of five.
The new emergency is happening in the same region, and the source of the toxic lead is once again illegal gold mining.
“The devastating impact of this outbreak is associated with new mining sites, which were found to contain more leaded ores, which are often brought home for crushing and processing… Additionally, the finding revealed a serious impact on our livestock with cows, goats and chicken most affected.”
— Junior health minister Fidelis Nwankwo, as reported in IBT
Five years ago, Pure Earth was among the first to respond to the crisis, working with TerraGraphics International Foundation to clean up the worst contaminated areas. This allowed Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to treat patients.
While we have completed our portion of the project, it is obvious the need is still great, especially with the new outbreak. We stand ready to support those currently working on the new crisis, including the TerraGraphics team.
Lead is the #1 childhood environmental health threat globally. From Vietnam to Indonesia to Mexico, we are working on projects to reduce lead contamination and keep children safe.