Statement from Dan Kass, Senior Vice President of Environmental, Climate and Urban Health, Vital Strategies, on today’s award announcement from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and Pure Earth:
Sept. 13, 2022 (New York)—Globally, one in three children have blood lead levels that are higher than deemed safe by the World Health Organization. Despite clear evidence of harm, many countries do not have sufficient capacity to monitor or regulate lead and protect their people from widespread exposure.
Today, Pure Earth announced a $7.1+ million* donation from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, global biopharmaceutical leader, to make a significant impact in the lives of approximately 9 million children in five countries over the course of five years. Vital Strategies will serve as a subgrantee on the award, and will lead efforts to assess children’s exposure to lead and engage health systems to respond. This timely support will enable Pure Earth and Vital Strategies to work in India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Colombia and Peru.
“Vital Strategies is proud to serve as a partner on this critical, yet too often overlooked, health crisis,” said Dan Kass, Senior Vice President, Environmental, Climate and Urban Health, Vital Strategies. “Lead is a potent toxin that the body stores over a lifetime and can severely affect the cognitive and physical development of children. Fortunately, there are several ways to protect children from lead exposure, including risk factor and blood lead surveillance, regulatory responses, and education campaigns. Vital Strategies is proud to apply the expertise of its epidemiologists, former government officials and policy advocates to the problem of lead poisoning.
“People can be exposed to lead from contaminated soil, adulterated foods, cookware, paint and smelting operations, yet many countries lack the technical capacity to collect, analyze and use childhood lead data to identify their leading sources of exposure. We look forward to this opportunity to strengthen our active partnership with Pure Earth, and we will build upon our work with governments to establish systems of monitoring blood lead levels in children, including helping to develop clinical guidelines and national environmental health monitoring plans,” Kass continued. “This will allow governments to overcome current technical hurdles that prevent children from receiving early diagnosis and treatment.
“We extend our sincerest thanks to Takeda for their commitment to tackling lead exposure and improving children’s health. Alongside Takeda, government leaders, Pure Earth and our partners, preventing lead poisoning for approximately 9 million children will be possible.”
Learn more about the program and partnership.
Read Pure Earth’s press release here.
*Committed total is JPY 1 billion. Financial information relating to the donation has been converted from Japanese Yen (JPY) to USD using the exchange rate as of September 2, 2022. Amounts payable as part of the donation are denominated in JPY.
About Vital Strategies
Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by equitable and effective public health systems. We partner with governments, communities and organizations to reimagine public health, and the result is millions of people living longer, healthier lives. Our goal is to build a future where better health is supported across all facets of our lives, in our families, communities, in our environment and our governments.
About Pure Earth
Pure Earth is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and improving lives and protecting the planet by reducing disease-causing pollution and cleaning up toxic hot spots in low- and middle-income countries. Since its inception in 1999, Pure Earth and its field teams have completed more than 120 projects in 27 countries using best-in-class science, analytics, and engineering practices to identify toxic hot spots and teach communities how to improve soil, water, and air quality with pragmatic, cost-effective solutions. Pollution is the largest environmental cause of death and disease in the world, stealing 9 million lives each year, and disabling hundreds of millions of children. Pure Earth prioritizes actions that protect the developing brains and bodies of children and pregnant women living in toxic hot spots with a specific emphasis on lead and mercury exposure. Partnering with governments, communities, and industry leaders, Pure Earth aims to elevate pollution as a global priority, create sustainable change, and support a healthier future.
To learn more visit www.pureearth.org.