Air Pollution in China

Here are some interesting article on the issue of air pollution in China.  Please follow the links provided to the original articles.


Impact of ambient fine particulate matter air pollution on health behaviors: a longitudinal study of university students in Beijing, China.


Poor air quality has become a national public health concern in China. This study examines the impact of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution on health behaviors among college students in Beijing, China.

Prospective cohort study.

Health surveys were repeatedly administered among 12,000 newly admitted students at Tsinghua University during 2012-2015 over their freshman year. Linear individual fixed-effect regressions were performed to estimate the impacts of ambient PM2.5 concentration on health behaviors among survey participants, adjusting for various time-variant individual characteristics and environmental measures.

Ambient PM2.5 concentration was found to be negatively associated with time spent on walking, vigorous physical activity and sedentary behavior in the last week, but positively associated with time spent on nighttime/daytime sleep among survey participants. An increase in the ambient PM2.5 concentration by one standard deviation (36.5 μg/m³) was associated with a reduction in weekly total minutes of walking by 7.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.3-9.4), a reduction in weekly total minutes of vigorous physical activity by 10.1 (95% CI = 8.5-11.7), a reduction in daily average hours of sedentary behavior by 0.06 (95% CI = 0.02-0.10) but an increase in daily average hours of nighttime/daytime sleep by 1.07 (95% CI = 1.04-1.11).

Ambient PM2.5 air pollution was inversely associated with physical activity level but positively associated with sleep duration among college students. Future studies are warranted to replicate study findings in other Chinese cities and universities, and policy interventions are urgently called to reduce air pollution level in China’s urban areas.”

Copyright © 2018 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Is air quality in China a social problem?ChinaPower

“The human and fiscal cost of air pollution is irrefutable. Since 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) has tracked air quality to measure its effect on heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, and other respiratory illnesses. China and India each had 1.1 million air pollution-related deaths in 2015, accounting for half of the world’s total air pollution deaths that year.

Chinese leaders face the difficult choice of prioritizing either economic growth or environmental and social welfare. For the past several years, Beijing has a made a concerted effort to reduce high concentrations of air pollution across China.

An Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure for reporting the safety level of air in a specific location. The AQI provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses “breakpoints” that correspond to a defined pollution concentration. Breakpoints are scaled between 0 and 500.

How does air quality in China compare with other countries?
Countries with a developed or developing industrial sector often face a tradeoff between rapid economic growth – without the constraints of environmental regulations – or public and environmental welfare measures. This challenge is not a recent phenomenon. Advanced economies, like the UK and Sweden, continue to work toward environmental protection while supporting their economic and industrial sectors. The challenge arguably has greater repercussions for developing countries, as their economic development often depends on industrial output.

Most advanced economies began to regulate air pollution after de-industrialization was already underway. This period coincided with better public awareness of the health consequences of pollution. After the 1952 “Great Smog of London” was estimated to have killed at least 4,000 people, the UK introduced the Clean Air Act of 1956 to restrict emissions. Due to the lack of consistent data, the extent to which the act directly contributed to air-quality improvements is unknown, but the post-1960 difference was dramatic; urban concentrations of smoke fell by 80 percent and sulfur dioxide by 70 percent within 20 years.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency introduced the Clean Air Act in 1970, with subsequent amendments in 1977 and 1990. The Clean Air Act established national air-quality standards, and has been associated with reductions in sulfur dioxide and other pollutants, leading to an immediate reduction in infant mortality rates. In 1972, an estimated 1,300 infants survived as a consequence of the Clean Air Act.2 Although the U.S. public has benefited from this regulation, economic losses were incurred during this transition. In the 15 years following the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act amendments, it is estimated that American counties found in violation of regulation lost about 590,000 jobs, $37 billion in capital goods, and $75 billion in production.”

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