The short answer (according to Popular Science): lead. The long answer: it really depends on how one defines a pollutant. For Popular Science’s article, greenhouse gasses and the eventual effects of climate change were put aside, and focus was placed on more tangible pollutants, starting with those that make their way from industry into nearby communities. The nonprofit group Blacksmith Institute reports on these at the end of each year; the group’s most recent study examined key pollutants at toxic sites in 49 countries and concluded that lead pollution from mining, smelting, and recycling (the latter often includes electronics and car batteries) accounted for the most pervasive risk to human health in 2012. The group estimates that lead affects at least 16 million people around the world, the effects of which include kidney problems, reduced IQ, learning disabilities, growth impairments, and nerve damage. A recent National Geographic article highlighted e-waste recycling practices in China, India, and elsewhere, which documented melting of heavy metals, including lead, in household cookware which is also used to prepare daily meals. It’s clear that many people in developing countries are unaware of the ramifications of exposure to toxins such as lead, and this lack of awareness (coupled with poverty) is of serious concern for present and future generations.
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