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Blacksmith Institute
Blacksmith print rgb large.jpg
Formation 1999
Type International NGO
President Richard Fuller
Website www.blacksmithinstitute.org

Founded in 1999, Blacksmith Institute is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to solving life-threatening pollution in the developing world. Blacksmith identifies and cleans up the world's worst polluted places[citation needed], focusing on communities where children are most at risk. Based in New York, Blacksmith has completed over 50 cleanup projects around the world. Blacksmith is currently engaged in over 30 projects in 15 countries.[citation needed]

In 2011 Blacksmith was recognized with the UN-backed Green Star Award for its dedication to solving pollution problems in low and middle income countries, where human health is at risk.[1] In 2010, Blacksmith's work was profiled in Time magazine's "Power of One" column[2]

Blacksmith Institute has been recognized as one of the USA’s top performing nonprofits.

Blacksmith is known for its annual World's Worst Polluted Places Reports for the creation of the Blacksmith Index (used around the world to rate levels of health risk from pollution)[citation needed], and for the Blacksmith database, the only resource of its kind, which currently documents over 600 of the world's worst polluted places. This Polluted Places Initiative identifies polluted sites throughout the world by means of an online nomination process.[3]

Blacksmith is currently expanding their database with the Global Toxic Sites Identification Program, formerly known as Global Inventory Project.[4]

Blacksmith serves as Secretariat for the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution.[5]

The GAHP (Global Alliance on Health and Pollution)[edit]

In July 2012, Blacksmith convened a third meeting of world leaders[6] and experts on pollution at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy to develop an action plan to tackle toxic pollution in low- and middle-income countries. The newly formed Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP)[7] is the first alliance of its kind to respond to the threat of toxic pollution on a worldwide scale. Blacksmith serves as Secretariat for the GAHP, which is supported by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and UNIDO, among other agencies. Blacksmith began coordinating an international effort to create a global alliance in 2008. The effort was formerly called the Health and Pollution Fund.[8][9][10]

World's Worst Polluted Places Reports[edit]

Since 2006, Blacksmith Institute's yearly reports have been instrumental in increasing public understanding of the health impacts posed by the world's worst polluted places, and in some cases, have compelled cleanup work at these sites. Previous reports have identified the top ten world's worst polluted places or pollution problems. The 2009 report focuses on 12 Cases of Cleanup and Success. Blacksmith reports have been issued jointly with Green Cross Switzerland since 2007.[11][12]

2013 report: Top Ten Toxic Threats in 2013: Cleanup, Progress, and Ongoing Challenges[edit]

The report presents a new list of the top ten polluted places and provides updates on sites previously published by Blacksmith and Green Cross.

The World's Worst Polluted Places in 2013 (unranked):

(*included in the original 2006 or 2007 lists)

2012 report: The Top Ten Sources by Global Burden of Disease[edit]

  • Battery Recycling
  • Lead Smelting
  • Mining and Ore Processing
  • Tanneries
  • Industrial/Municipal Dumpsites
  • Industrial Estates
  • Artisanal Gold Mining
  • Product Manufacturing
  • Chemical Manufacturing
  • Dye Industry

2011 report: The Top Ten of the Toxic Twenty[edit]

The report lists the worst toxic pollution problems according to human health impact. The evaluation is based on data collected by the Blacksmith Institute and the Swiss Green Cross.

Top Ten Worst Toxic Pollution Problems:

  • Artisanal Gold Mining - Mercury
  • Industrial Estates - Lead
  • Agricultural Production- Pesticides
  • Lead Smelting - Lead
  • Tannery Operation - Chromium
  • Mining and Ore Processing - Mercury
  • Mining and Ore Processing - Lead
  • Lead-Acid Battery Recycling - Lead
  • Naturally Occurring Arsenic in Ground Water - Arsenic
  • Pesticide Manufacturing and Storage - Pesticide

2010 report: Top Six Toxic Threats[edit]

The report identifies and quantifies the impacts of the most damaging toxic pollutants. The Top Six Toxic Threats are:[11]

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Chromium
  • Arsenic
  • Pesticides
  • Radionuclides

2009 report: 12 Cases of Cleanup and Success[edit]

The report lists 10 programs, unranked, as examples of successful efforts to reduce the toll of pollution on human health. It also includes two initiatives with worldwide impact.[12][13][14][15]

2008 report: Top Ten World's Worst Pollution Problems[edit]

  • Artisanal Gold Mining
  • Contaminated Surface Water
  • Indoor Air Pollution
  • Industrial Mining Activities
  • Groundwater Contamination
  • Metals Smelting and Processing
  • Radioactive Waste and Uranium Mining
  • Untreated Sewage
  • Urban Air Quality
  • Used Lead Acid Battery Recycling

2006 and 2007 reports: Top Ten World's Worst Polluted Places[edit]

As of September 2007, the Institute lists the following as the world's ten most polluted places (in alphabetical order by country):[16]

Also mentioned

The Institute has operated in China since 2002.[18]

World's "Dirty 30"

In its 2007 report, The World’s Worst Polluted Places issued on September 16, the Blacksmith Institute included Meycauayan and Marilao in Bulacan, Philippines, in the list of the world’s thirty most polluted places in the developing world.[16] It stated: "Industrial waste is haphazardly dumped into the Marilao, Meycauayan, and Obando River system, a source of drinking and agricultural water supplies for the 250,000 people living in and around” the Meycauayan-Marilao area."[19]

How Blacksmith Works[edit]

Blacksmith works cooperatively around the world in partnerships that include governments, the international community, NGOs and local agencies to design and implement innovative, low-cost pollution solutions that save lives. Blacksmith provides strategic, technical, and financial support to local champions working for the betterment of their communities.[citation needed]

The priority of Blacksmith is to work in locations throughout the developing world where human health is most affected by pollution. Its programs involve a multi-step process that includes:

  • identifying polluted places in the developing world with nominations received from members of the international community and through the internet;
  • assessing the health risks at those locations;
  • and designing and implementing a remediation strategy tailored to the specifics of the site in question, using local champions to implement the project in a cooperative fashion.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Six UN-backed green awards handed out for work in disasters". UN News Centre. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Walsh, Bryan (18 October 2010). "Power of One". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Harvey, Fiona (2007-09-12). "Planet’s most polluted sites unveiled". The Financial Times. 
  4. ^ "Blacksmith Institute Leads International Partnership To Build World's First Global Inventory Of Polluted Sites". Blacksmith Institute. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "A Global Alliance for a Toxics-Free World". 
  6. ^ "Incubating Ideas for Change at the Bellagio Center". Pollution Blog. Blacksmith Institute. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "New Global Alliance Seeks To Tackle Toxic Pollution Hotspots". Blacksmith Institute. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Health and Pollution Fund". Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Global Alliance on Health and Pollution". Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Dolan, David (5 May 2009). "Toxic hotspots affect 600 million in developing world". Reuters. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Worst Polluted". Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Rudolf, John Collins (29 October 2009). "Report Notes Few Toxic Cleanup Successes". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Leahy, Stephen (29 October 2009). "A Dozen Countries Take on Toxic Pollution". North America Inter Press Service. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  14. ^ Biello, David (29 October 2009). "Can the World's Most Polluted Places Ever Be Cleaned?". Scientific American. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  15. ^ Frierson, Burton (28 October 2009). "Global pollution-fighters find scant success". Reuters. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Top 10 Most Polluted Places 2007". Worst Polluted. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "12 Cases of Cleanup and Success 2009". Worst Polluted. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "NGO Directory". China Development Brief. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  19. ^ Espina, Nonoy (17 September 2007). "Meycauayan, Marilao in world’s ‘Dirty 30’-- report". Inquirer. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacksmith_Institute — Please support Wikipedia.
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Addressing the Global Threat of Toxic Pollution - Blacksmith Institute

Introduction to the impacts of toxic pollution and the work of the Blacksmith Institute. Toxic pollution poses health risks to over 100 million people, parti...

Blacksmith Institute - Mercury: The Burning Issue (Part 2)

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This is a recording of a talk presented by Blacksmith expert Jack Caravanos on Jan. 19, 2012 in NYC. Part of the Blacksmith Institute Pollution Talks series....

Blacksmith Institute Pollution Talk: Sodom and Gomorrah E-Wasteland (Part 2 of 3)

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Blacksmith Institute Pollution Talk: Sodom and Gomorrah E-Wasteland (Part 3 of 3)

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18 news items


Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:51:17 -0700

When the two black SUVs rolled up in the fading light of a February afternoon in 2009, Rich Fuller thought the KGB had come for him. The founder and principal of Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth, a New York-based nonprofit, Fuller had been leading ...
Deutsche Welle
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:11:15 -0700

However, it is young children who are most at risk. A report from the New York-based environmental research organization the Blacksmith Institute showed that many children who were exposed to lead during their childhoods grew up to have lower IQs, and ...
Huffington Post
Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:45:00 -0700

"These are extraordinarily high levels not seen anywhere in the U.S. -- this poses an immediate threat to child health," said Caravanos, whose team was organized by the New York-based environmental group Blacksmith Institute, also known as Pure Earth.
Huffington Post
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:49:18 -0700

In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, a worker gathers handfuls of cellphone printed circuit boards from a pile to put in a sack for recycling, at the East African Compliant Recycling facility in Machakos, near Nairobi, in Kenya. The amount of ...
Free Speech Radio News
Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:21:59 -0700

In 2013, the Zurich-based Green Cross Switzerland and the New York-based Blacksmith Institute published a report on the most polluted places in the world. The report “The Top Ten Toxic Threats, Clean Up, Progress and Ongoing Challenges,” puts ...


Sun, 07 Sep 2014 10:48:45 -0700

The United States-based Blacksmith Institute ranked the MMORS the fifth dirtiest river system in a 2005 survey of 200 rivers all over the world, it said. “The proposed sanitary landfill will be the final disposal point of the dredged materials for the ...


Unión de Morelos
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 04:15:00 -0700

Netzi Peralta Delgado, gerente de operación de la organización civil "Blacksmith Institute", una de las instancias que desarrollan dicho proyecto, explicó que el objetivo es hacer más conciencia en la población, sobre la importancia de fomentar la ...


Fri, 12 Sep 2014 01:39:29 -0700

Selain bencana banjir, sungai ini mendapat predikat "terhormat" sebagai salah satu sungai paling tercemar berdasarkan hasil penelitian yang dilakukan Blacksmith Institute dan Green Cross Swiss. Bahan kimia yang terdapat di sungai ini, antara lain timah ...

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