The Toxic Truth, a new report from UNICEF and GAHP member Pure Earth, has revealed the massive and previously unknown scale of childhood lead exposure: 1 in 3 children globally have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies.
The report’s findings made headlines around the world, with nearly 900 news reports published in English, French, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and more, including coverage in NPR, The New York Times, Time magazine, BBC News, The Guardian, Reuters, Jakarta Post, and Dhaka Tribune.
With the world’s attention now drawn to the issue, UNICEF and Pure Earth are calling for urgent action to abolish dangerous practices, including the informal and substandard recycling of lead-acid batteries, which the report notes is a leading source of lead poisoning in low- and middle-income countries.
“The good news is that lead can be recycled safely without exposing workers, their children, and surrounding neighborhoods. Lead-contaminated sites can be remediated and restored,” said Richard Fuller, President of Pure Earth.
Childhood lead exposure is estimated to cost lower- and middle-income countries almost USD $1 trillion due to lost economic potential of these children over their lifetime.
The report spells out how governments in affected countries can address lead pollution and exposure among children using a coordinated and concerted approach.