The prevalence of toxic hotspots in former Soviet countries

Petr Sharov, Russell Dowling, Megi Gogishvili, Barbara Jones, Jack Caravanos, Andrew McCartor, Zachary Kashdan, Richard Fuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a global database of contaminated sites, toxic hotspots in eight former Soviet countries were analyzed to identify the prevalence, types and sources of toxic pollution, as well as their associated potential public health impacts. For this analysis, polluted sites in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan were compiled and analyzed. The levels of contamination of seven key pollutants were assessed in each country. 424 contaminated sites were identified using data from Blacksmith Institute. Pesticides, lead (Pb), radioactive metals, arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), chromium (Cr), and cadmium (Cd) were the most commonly identified key pollutants. Collectively, these sites pose health risks to an estimated 6.2 million residents. The existing data on toxic hotspots in former Soviet countries likely captures only a small percentage of actual contaminated sites, but suggests potentially severe public health consequences. Additional assessments are needed to understand the risks posed by toxic pollution in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-353
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - Apr 2016


  • Assessment
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Pollution
  • Post-Soviet
  • Toxics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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