Environmental hazards comprise a significant portion of the health risks facing the poor. By one estimate, environmental causes account for 21 percent of the overall burden of disease worldwide (the combination of days spent sick and deaths due to sickness) (WHO 2002 in Cairncross et al. 2003:2). Acute respiratory infections and diarrhea rank among the highest contributors to the disease burden in the developing world, and these are mostly diseases of the poor (WHO 2002:83).
A disproportionate share of environmental health risk is borne by the very young. Although children under five constitute just 10 percent of the world