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Help Kids: World's Most Toxic Town

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"I am concerned that kids are dying here"
-- Dr. Jack Caravanos, Pure Earth advisor, Professor in environmental health, New York University

"... there are children with brain damage, paralysis and blindness – all classic symptoms of lead poisoning... some children with disabilities are hidden away by families fearing stigma."
-- The Guardian

Cilufya, 7, and brother Gift, 10 (pictured above), live in former miner’s housing, next to the giant spoil heaps of the Kabwe mine and smelter.

They are among the hundreds of children at risk, whose plight was just featured on the front page of The Guardian: "The world's most toxic town: the terrible legacy of Zambia's lead mines."

We at Pure Earth alerted The Guardian to this story. Our nonprofit works to clean up some of the world's worst polluted places, including Kabwe, where our team has been obsessed with stopping this tragedy, and saving children who are suffering and dying from severe lead poisoning.  

“This barefoot toddler (pictured above) is standing on soil with toxic lead levels 10X higher than US EPA standard.  Kabwe is a public health crisis.  It’s solvable.  To not take action is a travesty.”
-- Richard Fuller, President, Pure Earth.

Here are the facts:

An abandoned lead mine, located just a five-minute walk away from residential areas, is exposing Kabwe's 200,000 residents to extreme levels of this dangerous neurotoxin. There is even a vast toxic slag heap known as Black Mountain, where families, including children, scavenge.

In Kabwe’s neighborhood of Chowa, all 500 children are poisoned, having blood lead levels 10 to 20 times the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended level, which can be fatal.  The average soil lead levels are 10X higher than US EPA standard of 400 ppm.

Our Funding Ran Out. These Kids Cannot Wait.

Pure Earth has already successfully decontaminated 120 homes.  Children’s blood lead levels have been reduced by approximately 50%.  But now our funding has run out.

We must not, cannot, stop the cleanup, because we fear the consequences.

These children cannot wait.  

You can help us stop the suffering, save lives and clean up this toxic mess. You can help children like Cilufya and Gift.

Donate today so we can reach our $25,000 goal.  Together we can:

-       clean up 20 more homes,
-       train local community members in remediation,
-       monitor the children’s blood lead levels,
-       educate families about the dangers of lead, and
-       advocate for scaling up this critical cleanup.

 And if we exceed our goal, we can clean up more homes.

Thank you for being part of the solution.

“I am impressed with what has been done… and this comes as a relief not only to the people of Chowa, but the entire Kabwe population. We believe that when this project is completed, more lives will be safeguarded.”
-- Patrick Chishala, Kabwe District Commissioner, as reported in the Zambian Daily Nation: “Anti-Lead Project Cheers Kabwe Residents."

One of the Pure Earth local remediation teams that worked to clean up contaminated homes in Kabwe last year.
A team at work.
The remediation team installing a special geotech fabric to act as a barrier to keep the contamination underground. 
These boys are displaying their playful appreciation of having safe, lead-free yards for the first time in their lives.


  • Gonlee Jordan Freeman
    • $100 
    • 6 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Carol Ann Sumkin
New York, NY
Richard Fuller

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