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The Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP) is the largest global database of sites contaminated with toxic chemicals. The TSIP aims to locate, assess and document contaminated sites in low- and middle-income countries, and stores this data in a publicly available database that provides decision-makers with information that is otherwise unavailable through national programs. To date, TSIP has identified nearly 5000 toxic sites in over 50 countries

Resources for Investigators

Pure Earth provides resources for toxic sites investigators, such as the investigator handbook, sampling protocol, recommended levels for chemicals and metals, and more translated into multiple languages.

Explore our resources.

About Toxic Sites Identification

Update: Feb. 2020: API Tool Released To Broaden Access To Global Database Of Toxic Sites

In many low- and middle-income countries, industrial activities are often conducted without proper pollution controls or worker protections, resulting in thousands of toxic hotspots, where soil and water are contaminated with toxic chemicals. Such activities frequently take place in residential areas, posing an ongoing health threat to families living nearby. In many high-income countries, governments maintain databases of such contamination hotspots and have institutional mechanisms to address contaminated sites. This is rarely the case in low- and middle-income countries.

Filling Information Gaps To Help Prioritize Cleanups

The Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP) aims to provide decision-makers at all levels of government and within the international development community with information on the location, sources and potential impacts of sites contaminated by chemical pollution. The publicly available TSIP database of nearly 5,000 initial site assessments fills a critical information gap in many countries and facilitates the prioritization of pollution control and remediation efforts.

The TSIP database generates a relative risk score (0-10) for each contaminated site based on environmental sampling and other field data, thus allowing decision-makers to prioritize certain sites or sectors for intervention.

The Blacksmith Index ranks the severity of the site using a logarithmic scale. See these publications for detailed methodology:

Global Team of Pollution Investigators

In order to carry out site assessments, Pure Earth trains and utilizes a network of experts in each country to visit and document hazardous waste sites. These pollution investigators, often from the environment or health departments at a national university, are trained to identify and assess contaminated sites using a rapid assessment tool called the Initial Site Screening (ISS) protocol.  Government representatives also attend the training.  The ISS identifies major elements of a contaminated site, including estimated population at risk, key pollutant information, human exposure pathway data and sampling data. As part of the training, a field visit is made by the group to demonstrate the methodology for assessing the human health impact of toxic sites.

Since 2012, TSIP has organized workshops in 14 countries and trained over 400 investigators and 90 government representatives worldwide on how to identify and assess toxic sites.

Scroll below for a regularly updated list of TSIP projects.

Measuring Pollution

Without proper interventions to prevent, mitigate and remediate such sites, toxic hotspots pose long-term risks that undermine development objectives related to public health, education, poverty reduction, natural resources and sustainability.

These sites alone represent a potential health risk to more than 80 million poor people. However, these 5,000 sites likely represent a small fraction of the overall total. By way of example, over the past twenty years, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has identified tens of thousands of sites in the US alone that require remediation, and its National Priorities List for urgent remediation currently contains more than 1,300 sites. Analysis of the data and trends in the TSIP database indicates that as many as 200 million people may be affected.

Learn more:

Inside the Movement to Clean Up the World’s Most Toxic Sites

February 1-3, 2009
Investigators present: 4

April 11-13, 2009
Investigators present: 9

April 19-21, 2009
Investigators present: 11

Panama May 24-26, 2009
Investigators present: 9

June 11-13, 2009
Investigators present: 9

June 11-13, 2009
Investigators present: 9

June 18-20, 2009
Investigators present: 4

June 25-26, 2009
Investigators present: 9

July 14-15, 2009
Investigators present: 4

September 3-5, 2009
Investigators present: 10

October 4-6, 2009
Investigators present: 9

October 15-17, 2009
Investigators present: 10
Investigators present: 4

March 22-24, 2010
Investigators present: 13

August 9-11, 2010
Investigators present: 5

TSIP Training Phnom Penh, Cambodia

August 14-16, 2010
Investigators present: 4

February 21-22, 2012
Investigators present: 12
Government personnel present: 2

February 28-29, 2012
Investigators present: 7
Government personnel present: 4

March 1-2, 2012
Investigators present: 8
Government personnel present: 15

March 6-7, 2012
Investigators present: 6
Government personnel present: 13

March 7-9, 2012
Investigators present: 5
Government personnel present: 4

March 14-15, 2012
Investigators present: 10
Government personnel present: 7

March 22-23, 2012
Investigators present: 18
Government personnel present: 2

March 28-29, 2012
Investigators present: 10
Government personnel present: 14

March 30-31, 2012
Investigators present: 6
Government personnel present: 4

April 7-8, 2012
Investigators present: 5
Government personnel present: 6

April 26-27, 2012
Investigators present: 17
Government personnel present: 2

May 2-3, 2012
Investigators present: 15
Government personnel present: 1

June 12-13, 2012
Investigators present: 6
Government personnel present: 2

July 23, 2012
Investigators present: 4

August 1-2, 2012
Investigators present: 7
Government personnel present: 16

February 19-20, 2013
Investigators present: 15
Government personnel present: 12

June 18-20, 2013
Investigators present: 4
Government personnel present: 4

July 3-4, 2013
Investigators present: 8
Government personnel present: 9

March 1-2, 2014
Investigators present: 8
Government personnel present: 15

March 6-7, 2014
Investigators present: 6
Government personnel present: 13

March 25-27, 2014
Investigators present: 7
Government personnel present: 5

March 30-31, 2014
Investigators present: 6
Government personnel present: 4

April 7-8, 2014
Investigators present: 5
Government personnel present: 6

September 12-13, 2016
Investigators present: 5
Government personnel present: 11

TSIP Training New Delhi, India

September 21, 2016
Investigators present: 22

TSIP Training Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

October 13-14, 2016
Investigators present: 6
Government personnel present: 12

October 19, 2016
Investigators present: 6
Government personnel present: 12

TSIP Training Dakar, Senegal

November 29-30, 2016
Investigators present: 4

TSIP Training Bogota, Colombia

December 5-6, 2016
Investigators present: 11
Government personnel present: 22

January 19-20, 2017
Investigators present: 3
Government personnel present: 9

TSIP Training Guido Condarco, Bolivia

January 19-20, 2017
Investigators present: 4
Government personnel present: 11

TSIP Training Salvador, State of Bahia, Brazil

March 20-21 2017
Investigators present: 10

TSIP Training Quezon City, Philippines

March 29, 2017
Investigators present: 7
Government personnel present: 27

TSIP Training Hanoi, Vietnam

April 5, 2017
Investigators present: 8
Government personnel present: 21

TSIP Training Vadodara, India

August 17-18, 2017
Investigators present: 3

TSIP Training Iloilo, Philippines

August 30-31, 2017
Investigators present: 28
Government personnel present: 44

TSIP Training Kingston, Jamaica

October 18-19, 2017
Investigators present: 7
Government personnel present: 6

TSIP Training Bogota, Colombia

February 28- March 1, 2018
Investigators present: 5

TSIP Training Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

March 7-8 2018
Investigators present: 3
Government personnel present: 11

August 26 and 27, 2019
Investigators present: 40 from 9 states of NE Brazil and from the government

TSIP Training Colombia

January 2020 On January 23, 2020
Investigators present: 2

May 2021
Investigators present:  29

12 – 14 October, 2021.

Investigators present: 9