A pollutant is any substance that, when in an environment, poisons our air, land and water. Chemicals have poisoned all of the world, harming humans, wildlife, and plant life, on land, sea and air. Approximately 100,000 synthetic chemicals are now on the market, with one thousand new chemicals are added yearly.
Although companies test the toxicity of their products individually, they do not exist alone in the environment. Compounds are altered in combination with others, but the effect of these combinations are not tested or studied. Pesticides, designed to kill insects, weeds and fungus, are also toxic to human nervous systems, and are linked to cancer and reproductive, developmental, neurological and immune-system damage. Every chemical we use, every substance we produce, in manufacturing, farming, energy use, or consumption, remains here on Earth. These poisons may seem to disappear—but they are only hidden.
The World Health Organization reports that 3 million people now die each year from the effects of air pollution. This is three times the 1 million who die each year in automobile accidents.
In the United States, traffic fatalities total just over 40,000 per year, while air pollution claims 70,000 lives annually. U.S. air pollution deaths are equal to deaths from breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.