I remember hearing sometime in the past year about China having an air quality alert. Their AQI was over 200, which is considered very unhealthy. For some perspective, the AQI in Grand Portage is usually under 20, which is considered good. To prepare for the 2008 Olympics, China implemented many air pollution controls, and it seems that they were able to improve their air. According to an article on Science Daily, if China continued reducing their air pollution, they could reduce deaths from lung cancer in Beijing by 10,000 in this lifetime. The team of researchers who found these results studied air pollution in China and the health benefits that would come with reducing air pollution. They found that many lives would be saved with air pollution control, and they were only researching one type of pollutant, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs.
The PAHs released in China and other developing countries are spreading to the United States, so not only do we need to be concerned with the health of the people in China and other developing nations from air pollution, but we need to consider how it is affecting us. Pollution in the air can travel very far. Mercury is another example of pollutants that are traveling here to Minnesota and affecting our environment and health. The mercury in our fish comes from pollution in Minnesota, but it also comes from sources all over the world.