China’s smog reaching West Coast, study finds


We frequently read about dangerous smog hovering over Beijing and other industrial hubs in China. Just last week, air pollution levels were 20 times higher than the safe limit defined by the World Health Organization, the BBC reported.

The smog is so bad that it’s reducing life expectancy by 15 years, according to a study published last month in the British Medical Journal.

Now a research team led by a scientist at Texas A&M has traced sulfate-based air pollution emitted from factories in China to Los Angeles. The study, published today in Nature Communications, examined data from 2006.

The scientists also show that the particulates impact cyclone formation, “increasing overall precipitation over the Northwest Pacific by 7 percent,” notes.

The researchers partly lay the blame at the hands of American consumers.

“We’ve outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us,” UC Irvine Earth system scientist Steve Davis, a co-author, says in a press release. “Given the complaints about how Chinese pollution is corrupting other countries’ air, this paper shows that there may be plenty of blame to go around.”