Originally published January 28 2014
Beijing air pollution reaches crisis levels; can China survive its toxic environment?
by Thomas Henry
(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 ChinaOutsourcing 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.
Everything from packaged meals and canned food to USDA-certified Organic produce ships to the U.S. in massive quantities on a regular basis. Previous exposes by Natural News and throughout the media have shown how much of this food is produced with standards considered unacceptable here in the States, and that the most populous country is also turning out some of the most contaminated foods in the world, frequently tainted with toxins including lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic and even uranium.
In December 2013 - after a 2006-2009 soil survey was finally made public - the deputy minister of China's Ministry of Land and Resources declared that some 3.3 million hectares of farmland in central China was so polluted with heavy metals and industrial contamination that it could not be used to grow crops anymore. Cadmium was the chief concern for soil pollution. Additionally, some 60% of the groundwater used for drinking in Chinese cities is considered "dangerously polluted" with heavy metals, while the Asian country is notorious for its severely polluted rivers filled with industrial waste.
And again, all of this trickles back to the United States on a continuous basis.
Natural News and the Consumer Wellness Center have been running tests for heavy metal content in many popular food sources (particular to lot numbers). Check out some of the results (visit site here: http://labs.naturalnews.com) for a better understanding of what's really in your food and what kind of heavy metal burden your diet could be placing on your body.
The scientific literature already raises alarm over Chinese-produced foods. Just one study from 2011 published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture on wheat grown in northwest China found very high levels of cadmium and lead, demonstrating, according to the authors, that food remains "an important avenue for toxic metals entering the human food chain."
Beyond just China's melamine infant formula scandal, an electrothermal atomic absorption analysis conducted by the University of Valencia found that all 29 commercially available infant cereals it tested were contaminated with both cadmium and lead, creating a chronic toxicity issue from foreign-produced foods.
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