The six most dangerous environmental toxins in the world in 2015

The Environmental Toxin Report has been published jointly by the Green Cross Switzerland environmental organisation and New York-based Pure Earth (formerly Blacksmith Institute) since 2007. The Environmental Toxin Report 2015 describes the characteristics of the six most dangerous environmental toxins in the world and documents their adverse health effects. The assessment of the health impacts of environmental toxins in Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) allows a comparison with other known health risks. The health effects of industrial pollutants measured in DALY result in 17,147,600 DALY, while Aids causes 28,933,000 DALY, tuberculosis 25,041,000 DALY and malaria 14,252,000 DALY.


Without taking appropriate countermeasures, the number of people exposed to dangerous levels of contamination will continue to rise. Regardless of the extent and the severity of the consequences for humans, contamination by environmental toxins accounts for only a fraction of the financial investments and actions taken compared to infectious diseases, such as malaria, HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and the two global environmental problems of climate change and species extinction. While significant progress has been made in some countries, most of the clean-up activities are not given the necessary financial resources.


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Environmental Toxin Report 2015 (4.7 MB PDF file)


Photos of the six most important environmental toxins in the world in 2015 can be downloaded at:

Environmental Reports


Since 2007, the yearly environmental toxin reports published by Green Cross Switzerland and the Blacksmith Institute have been instrumental in increasing public understanding of the health impacts of toxic pollutants and their sources.


The Environmental Toxin Report 2012 describes known environmental toxins and points to their industrial applications and most frequent health effects. In addition, the Report identifies the ten most important sources of environmental toxins and quantifies, for the first time, the global scale of health damage due to toxic substances. It also shows that the health impacts of industrial pollutants measured are roughly equal to those of the three major global infectious diseases AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.


The Environmental Toxin Report 2011 is based on the estimated number of people affected by the sources of pollution, as well as the number of locations, identified worldwide, where environmental toxins occur in concentrations that are detrimental to health. Reports on the ten most dangerous sources of environmental toxins and the worst pollution problems were issued in the years 2008 and 2010. The environmental report published in 2009 contains case studies concerning successful remediation projects.

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