Industrial Pollution's Impact "On The Scale Of Malaria"

A new report documents, for the first time, the public health impact of industrial pollutants on local populations in developing countries.

Industrial Pollution's Impact "On The Scale Of Malaria"

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

The 2012 World's Worst Pollution Problems report, published by the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland, reveals that hazardous waste materials impact the health and lives of an estimated 125 million people in developing countries around the world. The report used a common metric to evaluate the overall health burden borne by those who are exposed to toxic industrial pollutants. It showed that in some areas, the public health impact is on the same scale as malaria or tuberculosis. Bret Ericson of the Blacksmith Institute says that the number of people affected "is an extremely conservative estimate."

What's the Big Idea?

Stephan Robinson of Green Cross Switzerland says that the increase in mining and resource extraction resulting from the developed world's demand for electronics is the reason why so many toxic sites exist. Ericson cites the Nigerian state of Zamfara as an example: Lead exposure resulting from crushing gold-bearing rocks in village compounds led to such high child mortality rates that "doctors carrying out vaccinations...were shocked to see so few children." He also says that nations need to do a better job in terms of finding and using inexpensive ways to avoid toxic pollution.

africa924 /

Weird science shows unseemly way beetles escape after being eaten

Certain water beetles can escape from frogs after being consumed.

R. attenuata escaping from a black-spotted pond frog.

Surprising Science
  • A Japanese scientist shows that some beetles can wiggle out of frog's butts after being eaten whole.
  • The research suggests the beetle can get out in as little as 7 minutes.
  • Most of the beetles swallowed in the experiment survived with no complications after being excreted.
Keep reading Show less

Stressed-out mothers are twice as likely to give birth to a girl

New research from the University of Granada found that stress could help determine sex.

Photo: Romolo Tavani / Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • A new study found that women with elevated stress before, during, and after conception are twice as likely to deliver a girl.
  • One factor could be that sperm carrying an X chromosome are better equipped to reach the egg under adverse conditions.
  • Another factor could be miscarriage of male fetuses during times of stress.
  • Keep reading Show less

    The cost of world peace? It's much less than the price of war

    The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.

    Mario Tama/Getty Images
    Politics & Current Affairs
    • Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
    • That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
    • Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
    • Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
    • Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
    Keep reading Show less
    Surprising Science

    The evolution of modern rainforests began with the dinosaur-killing asteroid

    The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.