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La Oroya, Peru -- In this lead mining town in the Peruvian Andes, 99 percent of children have high levels of lead in their blood largely due to an American-owned smelter that's been polluting the city since 1922, according to Time. The expended lead is expected to remain in the soil for centuries, with no plans to clean it up.
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Kasaragod, India -- The organic pesticide endosulfan is now banned in many countries, but 20 years of spraying it over cashew plantation in Kasaragod has taken its toll. Numerous congenital, reproductive and long-term neurological and other effects have been experienced, including congenital deformities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, lowered IQ, delayed development and cancer, according to ABC Environment.
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Central Kalimantan province, Indonesia -- According to ABC Environment, the largest concentration of people at risk from mercury pollution is in Indonesia. In Borneo's Central Kalimantan province, mercury is used to extract gold from ore, a process that is estimated to release 99,000 pounds of mercury into the environment each year.
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Chernobyl, Ukraine -- Even nearly 27 years after the nuclear reactor meltdown, a 19-mile area surrounding Chernobyl remains dangerously radioactive and uninhabitable. B etween 1992 and 2002, more than 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer cases were diagnosed among Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian children living in the fallout zone, according to Time.
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Bhopal, India -- In December 1984, a toxic gas leak at a local pesticide plant that killed nearly 4,000 people outright, rising to 15,000 in the coming week in one of the world's worst industrial disasters. Even now, thousands in Bhopal suffer and die from chronic illnesses largely due to contaminated groundwater.