China’s heavy metals pollution falls on U.S. soil

Thursday, March 13, 2014
By Paul Martin

by: David Gutierrez
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Air pollution from China’s coal-fired power plants regularly crosses the Pacific Ocean to contaminate the air, soil and water of the United States, studies have shown.

Appropriately, a significant proportion of this pollution is generated by industries that produce products for export to the West – often the same industries that have recently outsourced their production to Asia.

“Outsourcing production to China does not always relieve consumers in the United States – or for that matter many countries in the Northern Hemisphere – from the environmental impacts of air pollution,” wrote the authors of a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, conducted by nine researchers from three separate countries, examines the environmental impacts of a globalized economy. It is the first to measure the direct effects of China’s export-driven economy on air quality in the United States.

“We’re focusing on the trade impact,” said lead author Jintai Lin, of Peking University. “Trade changes the location of production and thus affects emissions.”

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