China’s air pollution hitting America’s West Coast…

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Chinese smog
Can you imagine trying to breathe in that smog?

China’s air is so thickly polluted, the city of Beijing has to fake sunsets on a mega TV screen. Now, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, China’s pollution is hitting the West Coast of the US!

Researchers used data from 2006 to see how different air pollutants were carried by strong winds from China to the US. The toxic materials included sulfur dioxide and black carbon, which are both a product of burning fossil fuels.

According to the results, China’s industries are responsible for about 12-24% of air pollution in the US. The country also appears to contribute one extra day’s worth of smog to Los Angeles. Sadly, Americans may be just as responsible for Chinese pollution. How so?

“When you buy a product at Wal-Mart, it has to be manufactured somewhere,” said Steve Davis, a scientist at the University of California Irvine and one of the paper’s co-authors. “The product doesn’t contain the pollution, but creating it caused the pollution.”

The researchers are hopeful that their results will be used to make international agreements to reduce pollution.

Image of Tianjin smog courtesy of Francisco Anzola.