Environmental toxins are found in air, soil, and water that has been contaminated with hazardous substances. These toxins are not only dangerous but very often result in a high mortality rate for humans. In fact, toxic pollution is the foremost cause of death for people from developing nations. People in developed countries can also be exposed to these pollutants with the potential for dire health consequences. Other forms of life are equally at risk. Despite the severity of toxic pollution, it is not reported adequately and does not attract sufficient funding to make a difference.
There are other forms of pollution. For example, growing levels of carbon dioxide do not have a direct effect on human health although they are responsible for climate change. Toxic pollution, on the other hand, includes the contaminants in drinking water that runs off into the soil. This results in crops and fish that are toxic. Heavy metals from mining operations, sewage, and poisonous substances used by power plants and factories are dumped into the water. Toxins can be inhaled when they are in the air over people’s homes, schools, and playgrounds.
We take a look at the three most dangerous environmental toxins below.
Used lead-acid batteries can be recycled, but there is a safe way to do it. In some countries, 90% of old batteries are successfully recycled. Children in developing countries help their families to earn an income from this through a manual process that takes place at the home. Some researchers are of the opinion that toxic lead is the world’s number one health threat to children.
Artisanal gold mining makes use of high labor resources and low capital inputs. Its processing methods to find gold, extract it from the mine, and process it are simple in comparison to top mining industries. Artisanal gold mining has both a formal and informal sector. Unfortunately, these basic procedures are responsible for 1,000 tons of toxic mercury being released into the environment every year. This makes up a third of global mercury emissions. But that is not all. Other toxins found at these sites are cadmium, arsenic, asbestos, chromium, and lead.
Once again, child labor is involved, with annual figures of 600,000 minors and 4.5 million women being among the 15 million victims of mercury poisoning as a result of directly touching this elemental heavy metal. More of this mercury finds its way into rivers, lakes, and the sea, into the atmosphere, and accumulates in the food chain, thus threatening many forms of life and endangering people.
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
Power plants and coal power plants are the culprits in this case. SO2 is derived from the combustion of fossil fuels that takes place at these plants. It can have a devasting effect on health by causing bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and lung cancer. Many victims die as a result of exposure to SO2. Fortunately, victims who became sick or whose family members died due to the negligence of companies that caused exposure to toxins can seek justice and compensation through toxic tort attorneys.
These three examples are only the tip of the iceberg. There needs to be greater involvement from key role-players in the international arena to tackle this crisis.
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.