Millions face life-threatening diseases from deadly toxins

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The full article was originally written for SwissInfo

The six most dangerous toxins threaten almost 100 million people around the world, according to a report by Green Cross Switzerland and New-York based NGO Pure Earth.

The Environmental Toxin Report 2015, published on Wednesday, said the pollutants – lead, radionuclides, mercury, hexavalent chromium, pesticides and cadmium – collectively affect the health of 95 million people and account for over 14.7 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY).

“These top six toxic threats clearly stand out among the others around the world,” said Richard Fuller, president of Pure Earth. “They affect more people, at more sites, and at a more concentrated dose than other pollutants.”

There is one change in this year’s list: cadmium replaces arsenic. The authors said these pollutants result in “debilitating, life-threatening diseases, particularly in children”.

“Low- and middle-income countries continue to grapple with the health consequences of exposure to these pollutants, often driven by rapid globalisation and the export of polluting industries,” said Stephan Robinson, executive director of Green Cross Switzerland.

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Millions face life-threatening diseases from deadly toxins