As many as 800 million children have dangerously high lead values in their blood. The neurotoxin can cause permanent brain damage.

The huge international numbers come from a new report from Pure Earth and UNICEF. Pure Earth works to solve pollution problems that can be harmful to humans.

“A child’s earliest years of life are characterized by rapid growth and brain development. This makes children particularly vulnerable to harmful substances in the environment,” says Kam Sripada, a postdoc at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) who has contributed to the report.

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Photo credit: Association of Medical Illustrations