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Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:45 PM

Beijing Air Akin to Living in a Smoking Lounge

(Bloomberg) Beijing’s air, which has exceeded the World Health Organization’s “healthy” limit every day this year, is similar to that in an airport smoking lounge.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows Beijing’s daily peak and average concentrations of PM2.5, the airborne particulate matter that raises risks for lung and heart diseases, as measured by the U.S. Embassy. The 2013 daily average was 194 micrograms per cubic meter, with an intraday peak of 886 on Jan. 12, the data show. By contrast, PM2.5 levels averaged 166.6 in 16 airport smoking lounges in the U.S., said a 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Levels exceeded 1,000 in Fairbanks, Alaska during a 2004 wildfire that engulfed 6.6 million acres, the state’s website says.

“Unlike cigarette smoking, exposure to ambient air pollution is involuntary and ubiquitously effects entire populations,” C. Arden Pope III, a professor at Brigham Young University who studies the health effects of air pollution, said in an e-mail.

The city’s government this week ordered some cars off its roads, closed factories and recommended that its 20 million residents avoid outdoor activities as air pollution levels hit hazardous for a fifth consecutive day yesterday. Some flights from Beijing Capital International Airport were canceled because of low visibility. Premier Wen Jiabao said authorities should give people hope through actions. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-30/beijing-air-akin-to-living-in-smoking-lounge-chart-of-the-day.html

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