Air pollution in China is killing 1.6 million people a year, researchers say

The Washington Post
Date: August 15, 2015
By Sarah Kaplan

In parts of China, simply breathing can be deadly.

“When I was last in Beijing, pollution was at the hazardous level; every hour of exposure reduced

A woman wearing a mask makes her way during a polluted day at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on January 15, 2015.   (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)
A woman wearing a mask makes her way during a polluted day at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on January 15, 2015. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

my life expectancy by 20 minutes,” Richard Muller, a physicist at University of California – Berkeley, said in a press release. “It’s as if every man, woman, and child smoked 1.5 cigarettes each hour.”

Muller is a co-author of a new paper in the journal PLOS One that takes an issue we’ve all heard of — the pollution that clogs the air over much of China — and examines its eventual consequences for human health.

The results were striking: According to the study, air pollution is responsible for killing 1.6 million Chinese a year, about one sixth of all the premature deaths in the country.

Both Muller and his co-author, physicist Robert Rohde, are researchers at Berkeley Earth, a non-profit devoted to analyzing global climate data.     [FULL  STORY]

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