26 Jun 2013:
Exposure to Lead Costs
Developing Nations $1 Trillion Annually
The exposure of children to toxic lead, and the subsequent declines in IQ and earning potential, costs the developing world nearly $1 trillion annually
, according to a new report. Based on the average lead levels in children under the age of 5, researchers from New York University found that Africa suffers the
greatest costs from lead exposure, losing an estimated $137.7 billion annually, or about 4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). In Latin America, the costs are about $142.3 billion, or 2 percent of its total GDP, the study found, while in Asian nations the costs are about $699.9 billion, or 1.88 percent of GDP. By comparison, the annual costs in the U.S. and Europe, where exposure to lead has decreased significantly in recent decades, are about $50 billion and $55 billion, respectively. According to the report, lead consumption has increased worldwide
since the early 1970s, largely because of the rising demand for lead batteries. “Childhood lead exposure represents a major opportunity lost,” said Leonardo Trasande, of NYU’s School of Medicine, the lead author of the study published in Environmental Health Perspectives
. “Prevention may actually accelerate economic development, which is critically needed in these countries.” Overall, the study estimates that burdens associated with childhood lead exposure amounted to about 1.2 percent of the world GDP in 2011.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A Yale Environment 360
video explores Ecuador’s threatened Yasuni Biosphere Reserve with scientists inventorying its stunning forests and wildlife. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
In a Yale Environment 360
video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.