World Bank study says pollution, climate change hurt millions

The World Bank is not the first institution that comes to mind when you’re looking for hard-hitting environmental analysis. But a new report from the powerful development agency asserts that while alcohol, tobacco, and unsafe sex are still the most common threats to human health in developing nations, millions of deaths and a full fifth of illnesses in these countries can be traced to environmental factors. Unsafe water, poor sanitation, air and soil pollution, pesticides, and hazardous wastes are big contributors to Third World woes. The bank also connects cancer to environmental conditions and acknowledges that global warming is already having major human-health impacts, especially in poor nations. “Without a healthy, productive labor force, we will not have the economic growth that is necessary to ensure a pathway out of poverty,” says World Bank environment director Warren Evans. “Poor people are the first to suffer from a polluted environment.” True dat.