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New Study: China Exporting Goods And Air Pollution To U.S.

Jan. 21, 2014 | KUOW
CONTRIBUTED BY:
Ashley Ahearn


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  • A satellite image of smog over China. Westerly winds can carry air pollution from China across the Pacific Ocean in just a few days. A new study is linking air pollution in the Western United States to China’s booming exports. credit: NASA/NOAA
A satellite image of smog over China. Westerly winds can carry air pollution from China across the Pacific Ocean in just a few days. A new study is linking air pollution in the Western United States to China’s booming exports. | credit: NASA/NOAA | rollover image for more

SEATTLE — The goods produced in China and sold to the U.S. come at an environmental cost, according to a new study. Scientists are linking air pollution in the Western United States to China’s booming exports.

Westerly winds can carry air pollution from China across the Pacific Ocean in just a few days.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers in the United Kingdom, China and the U.S.

It estimated that ozone, carbon monoxide and sulfate concentrations in the Western U.S. increased by as much as 2 percent specifically from the goods China manufactures to sell to the U.S.

And within China, roughly 5 percent of emissions of carbon monoxide, black carbon, Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides came from making those exports, according to the report.

Coal-burning factories were the biggest sources of the air pollutants -– and greenhouse gases.

The amount of air pollution in the Western U.S. from China is still very small, compared to the amount we produce here already.

Almost a quarter of China’s economic output came from exports last year.

© 2014 KUOW
air pollution westerly winds exports manufacturing china
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