If You Love This Planet, Dr. Helen Caldicott

Forty percent of world’s children heavily impacted by pollution


In this interview, Dr. Caldicott speaks with Richard Fuller, President and Founder of Blacksmith Institute, about the most significant areas of the world suffering from all forms of pollution, “the Top 10 of the Toxic 20.” One billion people are affected by pollution in the Third World and in some heavily polluted areas, 75% of children are born with birth defects. Based in New York, Blacksmith works in locations throughout the developing world where human health is most affected by pollution, and implements strategies to help local institutions address the problem.

In October 2008, Blacksmith, in collaboration with Green Cross Switzerland, released a report, The World’s Worst Pollution Problems. According to www.worstpolluted.org, “The Top Ten list includes commonly discussed pollution problems like urban air pollution as well as more overlooked threats like car battery recycling. The problems included in the report have a significant impact on human health worldwide and result in death, persistent illness, and neurological impairment for millions of people, particularly children. According to the report, many of these deaths and related illnesses could be avoided with affordable and effective interventions.”

Fuller and Dr. Caldicott cover air pollution (Fuller mentions that nearly everyone he encountered on the streets of Beijing this summer had a cough), surface and ground water contamination, sewage, industrial toxins, radioactive waste, indoor air pollution, mercury, lead, and contamination from factories making chemical warfare agents, among other concerns. The program also explores what is being done to reduce toxics, such as China’s major plan to deal with surface water pollution.

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