Oh my God. From National Geographic:
An eight-year-old girl, living near a major road in the Jiangsu Province of Eastern China, has become the youngest person in China, and possibly in the world, to be diagnosed with lung cancer caused by pollution—the cause of her disease according to Chinese officials. And last month, the World Health Organization classified air pollution as a major human carcinogen.
National Geographic interviewed a professor who studies this stuff. Excerpt:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standard is an annual average of 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, though they allow for daily spikes of up to 35. How does air pollution in industrialized areas of China compare to pollution in some the “dirtiest” American cities?
We’re way better than that. Their annual average may be as much as 80 to 100 (micrograms per cubic meter of air) with Beijing sometimes peaking at 800 to 900. In the United States, a couple of decades ago in places like Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, we had places that averaged in the low 30s. The most we get now, even in our most polluted cities, is the low 20s.
Here is what Pittsburgh looked like in the 1940s. I don’t know what the measure of air pollution was in Pittsburgh then, versus a couple of decades ago. But the pollution was so bad in Pittsburgh in the 1940s that the city’s streetlights stayed on at high noon.
An eight-year-old Chinese girl diagnosed with lung cancer related to pollution. Never happened before, that we know about. This too is part of what David Frum means:
What you admire, when you admire China http://t.co/CVJGfuRjh6
— davidfrum (@davidfrum) November 9, 2013