If air pollution kills, why doesn’t it kill the Chinese?

The New York Times editorial page is using this photo of Shanghai to promote the myth that air pollution kills.

NYTimes Shanghai pollution

The offending paragraph in the editorial “The High Cost of Dirty Fuels” is:

NYTimes IMF air deaths

Although we have exhaustively debunked the notion that air pollution kills here, it is worth noting the following.

The air in Shanghai (as in most other large Chinese cities) is routinely awful. For example on December 6, 2013, Shanghai’s PM2.5 level exceeded 600 micrograms per cubic meter — about 60 times the average level of PM2.5 in U.S. air. It looked like this (incidentally making the New York Times photo look like that of a sunny day):

Shanghai 600 micrograms

According to the U.S. EPA claim that every 10-microgram-per-cubic-meter increase in PM2.5 raises the death rate by about 1%, Shanghai’s death rate should be quite high — e.g., 60 times higher on December 6, 2013, alone.

But no such increase in death rate was reported. In fact, no increase in deaths at all was reported.

It’s also worth noting that the Chinese report life expectancy in Shanghai to be 82.47 years — higher than any U.S. city.

Yes, the air in Shanghai is foul. Is it killing people? There is no evidence of that.

4 thoughts on “If air pollution kills, why doesn’t it kill the Chinese?”

  1. Habituation is a wonderful thing. Humans evolved with daily smoke exposure for at least the last 100,000 years. Westerners have been living with low smoke pollution levels in relatively clean air for just 50 years.

  2. by now everyone ought to see that the EPA is on a fund raising mission. Their existence is moot pretty much at this point so they have to do ANYTHING to gin up some reason to exist.

    Wounded animals are always the most dangerous.

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