(NaturalNews) China is the world’s worst industrial polluter, spewing tons of toxins derived from man-made production into the air, soil and water at a steady rate. It has refused to comply with the same standards adopted by other leading nations of the world.
And the level of pollutants is starting to catch up with China’s residents, who have to breath it. Recent weeks have seen declarations of “extremely dangerous pollution” in Beijing, with particulate matter reaching more than two dozen times the level considered safe for airborne toxins.
Workers and commuters commonly wear face masks to combat the often pungent odors and dust, while many suffer from chronic coughs and irritation in their airways and nasal passages.
The smog has reportedly worsened in the last couple of years, obscuring the skyline in major cities and severely limiting visibility. This toxins further compound in the winter with the heavy use of coal for heating and the often stale air.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) considers fine particles (PM2.5) safe below 25 micrograms, Beijing monitoring stations have recently recorded levels between 350-500 micrograms and as high as 671 micrograms. In Harbin, the tenth most populous city in China, which is located in the far northeast of the country, PM2.5 levels soared as high as 1,000 micrograms.
A Harvard study published in 2013 found that China’s refusal to curb air pollution was contributing to shorter lifespans among its population, particularly in the north, including Beijing. The almost absurd levels of total suspended particulates just from using coal to heat homes has shaved off a calculated 2.5 billion years of life expectancy for the 500 million residents of northern China, depriving individuals of an estimated 5.5 years of life.
Outsourcing blowback: Chinese air pollution drifts to the U.S.
Conventional wisdom has touted that outsourcing the manufacture of cheap goods to China and other sources of cheap labor would hold the added benefit of cutting down on pollution in the United States (with fewer at work in American factories). But that, too, has bitten back.
A fresh study conducted by the University of Washington found that smog and other airborne pollution from Chinese factories was creeping back to the U.S., along with infinite tons of imported goods. A full 21% of China’s industrial pollution comes from manufacturing exports for the United States, bringing to full circle a new form of literal blowback.
The study’s authors wrote, “Outsourcing production to China does not always relieve consumers in the United States – or, for that matter, many countries in the Northern Hemisphere – from the environmental impacts of air pollution.”
The levels of pollution from China are so high that the air pollution reaches the United States within six days, adding significant pollution to the West Coast, which has been registered by the EPA.
The study found, “On a daily basis, the export-related Chinese pollution contributed, at a maximum, 12-24% of sulfate concentrations over the western United States.”
Heavy metal contamination in foods from China
Outsourcing also means that a great deal of the food consumed in America is produced in China – where the pollution also includes high levels of heavy metals. Currently, China ranks as the third largest source of imported food in the United States, though even the FDA is unsettled enough to turn away hundreds of batches of contaminated food each year.