2012最新研究:全球1.25億人承受環境毒物污染 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

2012最新研究:全球1.25億人承受環境毒物污染

2012年10月29日
摘譯自2012年10月23日ENS美國,紐約報導;沈瑞筠編譯;蔡麗伶審校

工業污染對公共衛生是嚴重的威脅 ,其威脅度可和瘧疾與肺結核相提並論;新的研究顯示,全球有1.25億人暴露於有毒污染物環境,污染導致他們生病或死亡的程度往往受到低估。

這份研究報告名為《2012年全球最嚴重污染調查》,由總部設在紐約的布萊克史密斯研究所(Blacksmith Institute)及瑞士綠十字會兩個非營利組織共同提出。報告中詳細介紹了他們過去一年在許多中低收入國家上千個污染地的研究成果。

兒童在深及臀部的毒水中尋找可用之物(照片由布萊克史密斯研究所提供)

報告指出,「這些污染又多發生在缺乏資源來瞭解這個成長中問題的弱勢族群,又缺乏這些污染地對人體健康影響調查及量化資料。令人遺憾的,在這些族群內,環境污染的衝擊通常受害最深的是脆弱的兒童。」

布萊克史密斯研究所及瑞士綠十字會這份報告的目標之一是:「為處在毒物環境污染危害的弱勢族群發聲。」

這類的後院製革廠污染鄰近區域的水源(照片由布萊克史密斯研究所提供)這份報告指出10種最應為疾病或死亡負責的毒物產業;報告上居首的是鉛蓄電池回收業。第二毒的行業是煉鉛業:第三則是採礦和礦石加工業。第四名是製革業,五、六名則分別是工業及都市垃圾場、工業區。工藝黃金採礦名列第七、產品製造、化工生產和染料業居八、九、十名。

由歐洲議會、世界銀行、瑞士綠十字會及布萊克史密斯研究所贊助的這份調查,共調查分佈全球49個國家超過2600個地點。由於安全考量,此次調查排除了北非及中東地區。

報告中指出,基於世界衛生組織提供的方法得到的結果,導致身體多數疾病的毒物禍首為鉛。鉛會損害兒童的神經發展並導致成人的心血管疾病,

鉻、汞對腎臟的危害引發的癌症造成的死亡危害度僅次於鉛;鎘會致癌、導致腎臟病;石綿會引發間皮癌、肺癌及其他肺部問題;一長串的揮發性有機化合物都會致癌、導致神經系統病變及危害腎臟、肝臟、皮膚等器官。

布萊克史密斯研究所發現超過500個點位在受鉛污染,估計約有1600萬人暴露於風險中。主要的鉛污染來源是煉鉛業、採礦和礦石加工業、工業區及鉛蓄電池回收及製造業。

瑞士綠十字會研究人員Stephan Robinson接受電話採訪時表示,「2011年全球的鉛產量估計增加了約9%,達到452萬噸。主要的成長量在中國、印度及墨西哥三國,中國佔了鉛礦生產的1/2。」

Robinson表示,鉛的回收量也在增加,不過多數的工廠不是沒有管理就是管理鬆散的非正規工廠,甚至有些在住宅進行,這使得許多國家內鉛的再提煉本身就是一個大問題。

報告中提及,較富裕的國家如果他們使用含鉛汽油或是含鉛釉陶也可能暴露於鉛風險中。

R小規模的煉鉛業所排放的污染導致鄰近居民健康問題(照片由布萊克史密斯研究所提供) obinson提到,「採礦有許多衝擊,從礦石中提煉金屬具有極大的破壞性,提煉的化學過程會留下大量的有毒污泥及重金屬。由於全球人口持續增長,人們對礦石的需求也日益增加。」

「採礦通常是種很原始的過程,人們使用他們裸露、無保護的手腳來採礦,全球約有1400萬人暴露於採礦的風險。」

「現今有先進的科技設備可控制污染,但由於成本高昂,只用於富裕的開發國家。」

布萊克史密斯研究所的技術顧問John Keith向記者表示,由於「通常在都會區,小型工廠生產提供在地市場」,工業污染最大的衝擊發生在中低收入國家,在這些國家中,在地及小規模的公司通常不受限制、並花費極少比重的金錢在控制污染。

Keith表示:「人們需要賺錢,如果他們很貧窮,他們會想盡辦法賺錢。我們進行這項研究來尋求可保住他們生計的解決之道。」這份報告的調查點,有許多現在已不再營運,但這些污染源仍持續污染周遭的空氣、土壤及水。

世界衛生組織估計,環境風險佔全球的癌症發病因的19%。

世界衛生組織的全球健康風險報告檢視5大環境風險:不安全的水及衛生設備、都市戶外空氣污染、固態燃料造成的室內煙害、鉛暴露及氣候變遷,估計這5大風險至少造成全球10%的死亡或疾病;且是1/4的5歲以下孩童死亡或疾病的禍首。

報告總結「在經濟與人類健康間建立連結是很容易的:疾病的花費與因疾病和死亡造成的生產力降低,將會是經濟上的沈重負擔。」

World’s Worst Pollution Problems: 2012
NEW YORK, New York, October 23, 2012 (ENS)

Industrial pollution is a critical public health threat on a par with malaria and tuberculosis, but while 125 million people around the world are at risk from toxic pollutants, these causes of illness and death are underestimated, new research shows.

Two nonprofit organizations – the New York-based Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland – today issued a report detailing their findings from the past year of research on thousands of polluted sites in dozens of low-income and middle-income countries.

“The lack of investigation and quantification of the human health impacts of contaminated sites have left an often-marginalized population with few resources to address this growing problem. Sadly, health impacts from environmental pollution often affect the most vulnerable, especially children, within these already neglected populations,” the report states.

The objective of the work of the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland and one goal of this report is “to give a voice to this marginalized population that is in danger from toxic pollutants.”

The report identifies the 10 most toxic industries responsible for the greatest number of illnesses and deaths – number one on the list is lead-acid battery recycling.

The world’s second most toxic industry is lead smelting, with mining and ore processing ranked third, the report finds.

Investigators found that the fourth most polluting industry is tannery operations, even more toxic than industrial and municipal dump sites and industrial estates, which ranked fifth and sixth.

Artisinal gold mining is next on the list, while product manufacturing, chemical manufacturing and the dye industry round out the list of the 10 most polluting industries.

Funded by the European Union, the World Bank and Green Cross, Blacksmith investigated more than 2,600 sites in 49 countries in most regions of the world. Only North Africa and the Middle East are not represented due to what investigators called “security concerns.”

The toxic that causes the most illness is lead, which impairs the neurological  development of children and causes cardiovascular disease in adults, according to the report, which is based on methods detailed by the World Health Organization.

Next most deadly is cancer-causing chromium, then comes mercury, which damages the kidneys and affects neurological development in children. Cadmium causes cancer and kidney disease, asbestos is responsible for mesothelioma, lung cancers and other lung problems, and a long list of volatile organic compounds cause cancer, neurological issues, and damage to kidneys, liver, skin other organs.

Blacksmith investigators identified over 500 sites polluted by lead, putting an estimated 16 million people at risk. They found that the top sources contributing to lead pollution, by population, are lead smelting, mining and ore processing, industrial estates and lead-acid battery recycling and manufacturing.

Stephan Robinson of Green Cross told reporters on a teleconference today, “Global production of lead was expected to increase nine percent in 2011 to 4.52 million tons, due to increases in China, India and Mexico, with China accounting for one-half of all lead mining production.”

Increasing quantities of lead are being recycled. But often recycling occurs at uncontrolled or poorly controlled facilities in the informal economic sector, even at home, making lead reprocessing itself a big problem in many countries, he said.

Richer countries can also be at risk if they travel on leaded fuel or use lead glazed pottery, the report shows.

“Mining has a lot of impact,” Robinson said. “It is extremely destructive to extract metal from ore. It is usually leached out in chemical process, which leaves a high volume of toxic sludges and heavy metals. Because the global population is growing, demand for ore is growing.”

“Often mining is a primitive process – people using only their bare hands and bare feet, with no protection – about 14 million people around the world are at risk from mining,” Robinson told reporters.

“Today there is modern technical equipment for pollution control, but it is expensive, so it exists only in rich, developed countries,” he said.

John Keith, a technical adviser with Blacksmith Institute, told reporters today that the biggest impacts of industrial pollution tend to be in low and middle income countries from “smaller industries producing for local markets, often in urban areas.”

In these countries there are fewer controls, less money for pollution control weight more toward local and smaller companies, he said.

“People need to make money. If they are poor, they will do what it takes to make money,” said Keith. “We are doing this research to develop solutions that protect their livelihoods, recover more gold, process hides more quickly.”

Keith says many of the sites investigated for this report are legacy sites with no current activity, but they are still polluting the surrounding air, land and water.

The World Health Organization has estimated that environmental exposures contribute to 19 percent of cancer incidence worldwide.

A WHO Global Health Risks report looked at five environmental exposures – unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene, urban outdoor air pollution, indoor smoke from solid fuels, lead exposure and climate change – and estimated they account for nearly 10 percent of deaths and disease burden globally and around one quarter of deaths and disease burden in children under the age of five.

The report concludes, “Making the connection between economics and human health is easy – the cost of illness and the loss of productivity due to disease and death is a huge and preventable economic burden.”

※ 全文及圖片詳見:ENS