More efforts needed to protect people from exposure to toxic substances

On May 20, Baskut Tuncak, the Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, issued a statement urging the World Health Organization to play a more active role in preventing adverse health effects from pollution.  He stated that only a "tiny fraction" of WHO's proposed budget is for environmental health, even though environmental harm, including air and water pollution, cause approximately 13 million deaths per year and about one quarter of global burden of disease.  Pollution is the leading cause of death in low- and middle-income countries and poor women and children who live and work in the world’s most polluted environments are most affected.  Even worse, the UN Environment Programme predicts a sharp acceleration of pollution around the world in coming years.