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Lancet Editorial: Why We Need A Commission on Pollution

On Oct 1, a panel of world leaders and experts in the fields of pollution management, environmental health and sustainable development announced the launch of the Global Commission on Pollution, Health and Development at the 4th Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4), in Geneva, Switzerland.

What is the Commission and why do we need it?

The Commission chairmen — Dr. Philip Landrigan, Dean for Global Health, Professor of Preventative Medicine and Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Richard Fuller, President, Pure Earth (formerly Blacksmith Institute), which serves as Secretariat, Global Alliance on Health and Pollution — explain all in this editorial published Oct. 10 in The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious and widely read medical journals.

The editorial opens with a summary of the global crisis:

Environmental pollution is a large, costly, inequitably distributed, and preventable cause of disease and death in countries around the world. The links between pollution and health, while very strong, have been insufficiently appreciated in the global health agenda, and the international and domestic resources allocated to pollution control have not been commensurate with the great magnitude of the problem.

And ends with the key point – that pollution is not inevitable.

Pollution is a problem that can be solved in our lifetime. The Commission will lay the foundation for its solution by defining pollution’s many effects on health, economics, and development and then presenting this information to world leaders. The Commission’s ultimate goal is to raise the priority of pollution control in the international development agenda, and thus increase the resources allocated to this pressing global health problem.

Read the full Lancet editorial here.

The Global Commission on Pollution, Health and Development is an initiative of The Lancet, the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, with coordination from the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank.


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