Reply To: Dirty Air is Dangerous Air


Some more research has revealed the dangers of airborne particulates – and (in Beijing) airborne pollutants in general.

In Hong Kong:

Deteriorating air quality in Hong Kong is sending more people to hospital, says a new survey.

According to a pair of researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who examined day-to-day pollution levels and hospital visits over a six-year period, a rise in airborne pollutants in Hong Kong was associated with a rise in emergency hospital visits.

Published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the study, led by professor Yu Tak Sun Ignatius and Ph.D candidate Hong Qiu, comes as residents report increasing levels of frustration with the city’s pollution.

Mr. Yu and Ms. Qiu found that every 10 micrograms per cubic meter daily increase in coarse airborne pollutant particles resulted in a 1% increase in emergency hospital admissions for respiratory disease, or an additional 830 hospital admissions.

The study controlled for other kinds of pollutants, including PM2.5, superfine air particles dozens of times thinner than a human hair, which Hong Kong and mainland China only began publicly monitoring earlier this year. While such superfine particles are the greatest source of concern for public health experts, because of how they can penetrate the body’s organs, the Hong Kong researchers also found that so-called “coarse” particles—including those between 2.5 and 10 micrometers in size—likewise “have a high impact on public health,” said Ms. Qiu.

“These coarse particles shouldn’t be ignored,” said Ms. Qiu, who says the city’s future air quality objectives should adopt standards that explicitly address such particles. “They can also cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease.”

Air Pollution Fuels Hospital Visits in Hong Kong

– above results also reported in Oriental Daily: 粗懸浮粒子禍害大 致病入院增

More on particulate threats, from Xian:

Researchers from Peking University say minute particle pollution as indicated by high PM2.5 readings will cause a spike in the mortality rate of patients suffering heart and lung diseases.

The researchers from the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering and Center for Environment and Health at the university published their findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Whenever a reading of PM2.5 rises to 103 microgram per cubic meter, the mortality rate among those with risk factors will increase 2.29 percent, according to the study, which examined data from the city of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province.

High PM2.5 linked to deaths, researchers

And from Beijing:

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, changes in air pollution were associated with changes in biomarkers of systemic inflammation and thrombosis (formation of blood clot) as well as measures of cardiovascular physiology in healthy young persons, according to a study in the May 16 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on Global Health. …

Air Pollution Level Changes in Beijing Linked With Biomarkers of Cardiovascular Disease