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Higher socioeconomic status linked to increased air pollution exposure in China

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In some countries, including the United States, social factors such as increased income and education are associated with lower levels of air pollution. But this is not the case in China. In fact, the opposite is true.

For the first time, a team from the University of Washington found that people living in China, which has the highest economic status, are more likely to be exposed to outdoor air pollution, also known as air pollution. This study contradicts a study conducted across North America, which showed that the highest levels of pollution tend to be experienced among people with low social status.

The study was published on June 8 at Environmental Health Practices.

“Environmental diversity reflects the history of the place, culture, economy and power,” said author Julian Marshall, professor of engineering and environment at UW. “These factors are different between the United States and China, so we see different signs in environmental inequality.”

While the ecological differences between different countries have been extensively studied, the differences in the country have not been studied except in some developing countries. China accounts for a quarter of the world’s 4 million deaths each year as a result of air pollution, which is linked to strokes, respiratory diseases and lung cancer.

The researchers examined the environment nitrogen dioxide (No.2) same to you fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration. The group chose these pollutants because they are widely followed and have health effects associated with exposure. Also, new estimates of pollution levels are obtained at a lower resolution (1 km).

The researchers combined the annual average estimates of these pollutants for 2015 with national statistics, which included social conditions, such as income and education levels. The team also considered things like moving to the city and the status of minorities. The researchers compared their results using a variety of methods to measure social status, including the accuracy of a single point and community.

To their surprise, the researchers found that the condition NO2 and PM2.5 measures are higher for higher socioeconomic societies. They also found higher social status for older urban residents compared to rural to urban areas, and higher socioeconomic status for most ethnic groups than for the average in minority groups. nine.

The team predicts that the differences in the relationship between social status and environmental pollution may be due to a variety of factors, including unique economic characteristics, urbanization and industrial development in countries. As the world’s fastest-growing economy, in recent years China has experienced rapid urban growth with rural-urban migration.

In China, in recent years, more and more people have moved to cities to make art, which has become an important part of China’s production. These services were paying a higher average price, which increased income disparities. With people interested in living close to their workplaces, they face high levels of air pollution associated with it manufacturing industry. In comparison, the system of environmental inequality in the United States as a whole is expressed in part by past and present racism. Low-income communities in the United States often lack financial and political resources to prevent sources of pollution, such as highways and other unwanted crops.

These findings could affect other countries, say researchers, especially low-income and middle-income countries that have experienced economic growth in recent years.

“The current situation in China shows that China’s economic growth is linked to socio-economic conditions and pollution,” said Yuzhou Wang, a senior author at UW in civil engineering and environment. “However, with the development of cities and economic reforms in China, the relationship between social status same to you air pollution exposure may weaken or change in the future. ”


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Learn more:
Air pollution and social conditions in China, Environmental Health Practices (2022). DOI: 10.1289 / EHP9872. ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/EHP9872

hint: China’s largest economy linked to greenhouse gas emissions (2022, June 8) retrieved June 8, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-higher-socioeconomic-status -linked-air.html

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