Pollution within: Portraits of Environmental Health [Slide Show]

Photographs portray the wide variety of environmental health problems that have afflicted people and ecosystems from Ho Chi Minh City to Lake Erie

By Marla Cone, Peter Essick and Environmental Health News

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Fluorescent Hands:

A fluorescent tracer technique at the University of Washington can help pesticide applicators better understand how exposure occurs. A black light can reveal areas where a pesticide could come in contact with skin and enter the bloodstream.....[ More ]

Tech Trash:

​A boy in Accra, Ghana, picks through electronic waste, stripping off copper wire with his hands in unsafe conditions. He and his family moved there because droughts had made their land impossible to farm.....[ More ]


​Motorbikes are a popular form of transportation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, from motorbikes and other vehicles are caused by incomplete combustion. Pregnant women and children are most at risk.....[ More ]


​In the late 19th century, the economy of Leadville, Colo. was booming. For almost 100 years, gold and silver were recovered from mines surrounding the city. But eventually the ore ran out, and the soil and surface water were heavily contaminated with lead, zinc and other heavy metals.....[ More ]

Brick Kilns:

Residents in a poor neighborhood near San Luis Potosí, Mexico, burn plastics and industrial waste in brick kilns as an energy source. Workers loading the fuel in the furnace are exposed to the black smoke.....[ More ]

Emissions Simulation:

Researchers monitor chemical emissions from an ordinary office desk, chair, rug and clothing in a small, stainless steel test chamber at the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta, Ga.....[ More ]

Lead Paint:

​Lead paint chips speckle the midsection of a 2-year-old Cleveland, Ohio, girl. Banned decades ago, lead paint is still injuring children who ingest it. The nurse is viewing an X-ray in the Metro Lead Clinic in Cleveland.....[ More ]

Boy in Butte:

​A boy looks out a window against a backdrop of old mines in Butte, Mont. Next to the town is the Berkeley Pit, an open pit copper mine that is now one of the nation’s largest Superfund sites. When mining operations were shut down in 1982, the water pumps that had kept groundwater out were turned off.....[ More ]

Fungicide Sprayers:

Pesticide sprayers apply dithiocarbamate fungicide to a tobacco crop near Jalapa, Nicaragua.....[ More ]

Tobacco Worker:

Pesticide sprayer Medaro Bellorin takes a shower after work in Jalapa, Nicaragua.
....[ More ]

Birth Defect:

An attendant feeds breakfast to Tran Huynh Phuong Sinh , 4, at Peace Village in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She has no eyes, fingers or toes due to a birth defect called Fraser Syndrome that is believed to have been caused by her grandparents’ exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.....[ More ]

China Yellow River:

The Yellow River in China has turned pink from release of a dye used in the manufacture of tofu by the factory in the background.
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Algae Bloom:

A boat passes through an algae bloom on Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio. The bloom, which is caused by nitrogen runoff from farm fertilizer, contains a cyanobacteria toxin that may be linked to neurological diseases.....[ More ]

Nitrogen Runoff:

In a parking lot in Baltimore, Md., nitrogen is deposited from the exhaust of vehicles. The deposits build up on asphalt and other hard surfaces, and then rain washes them into sewers. In this case the pollution was headed toward the Chesapeake Bay.....[ More ]

​Breast Cancer Survivors:

​Breast cancer survivors from Richmond, Calif., stand on a hill overlooking an industrial zone in their hometown. Marleen Quint, a breast cancer survivor, holds a photo taken of her in 1999 showing her surgical scars.....[ More ]

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities:

Betty Kreeger of San Mateo, Calif., has multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). She is sensitive to chemicals in fragrances, perfumes and soaps. She has to wear a charcoal mask when she shops. MCS has made it difficult for the former police officer to keep a job.....[ More ]

Safe Cosmetics Campaign:

Members of the Safe Cosmetics Campaign demonstrate application of safe makeup and cosmetics in Corte Madera, Calif. The teens advocated for a cosmetics labeling law.
....[ More ]

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