PM2.5 will disappear, in name that is
China's scientific authority is soliciting ideas to come up with a new
Chinese name for PM 2.5, or particulate matter smaller than 2.5
micrometers in diameter that can enter people's lungs and bloodstream.
By Zheng Xin, February 28, 2013
The initiative has aroused public interest and caused an Internet buzz.
Because PM 2.5 uses the Latin alphabet, the China National Committee
for Terms in Sciences and Technologies is conducting research and
gauging opinions from all walks of life to name the term properly, it
People nationwide are contributing creative terms, including 'Beijing
grey', 'toxic dust', 'air pollution index' and 'cough trigger'.
In addition to the people who are busy brainstorming, some also
suggest that the government should focus more on relieving the dense
smog rather than providing a fancy name.
The committee has consulted experts from environment, physics,
medical sciences and linguistics to contribute advise for a name for the
PM2.5 kills thousands, researchers say
By Wu Wencong, December 19, 2012
Report shows toll of air pollution on nation's economy, human health
An estimated 8,572 premature deaths occurred in four major
Chinese cities this year due to high levels of PM2.5, a study has found.
The report also said severe air pollution in Shanghai, Guangzhou,
Xi'an and Beijing has led to a total economic loss of 6.8 billion yuan
The study released on Tuesday by Peking University's School of
Public Health and Greenpeace looked at the health and economic impact of
PM2.5, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter.
Modern toxicology research has shown that exposure to PM2.5 can
lead to significantly increased death rates due to cardiovascular,
cerebrovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as increased cancer
The study, the first of its kind, was based on available data and
took into account varying conditions in the four cities, such as
temperature and humidity.
In its conclusion, the report states that if the cities can
effectively lower PM2.5 levels to meet the World Health Organization's
Air Quality Guidelines - 10 micrograms per cubic meter - such deaths
would be reduced by more than 80 percent.
Of the four cities, Shanghai had the highest amount of deaths,
although its PM2.5 concentration is not the highest, the study found.
"The reason can be very complicated, but this phenomenon
corresponds with research in other countries," said Pan Xiaochuan, a
professor at the School of Public Health and lead author of the report.
"There are three main factors. First, Shanghai is the most
populous city. Second, people from the south and the north have
different sensitivities to pollution. Third, PM2.5 in different places
has different components whose effects vary."
The methodology adopted by the study is a widely applied
standardized method in epidemiological studies of air pollution, authors
"A mathematical model was developed based on PM2.5 laboratory
monitoring values over the past three to four years in the four cities,
as well as statistics from centers for disease control and prevention of
deaths and their causes over the same period," said Li Guoxing, a
lecturer at the School of Public Health and a co-author.
"From this, a PM2.5 exposure relative risk coefficient was
calculated. The total of deaths related to PM2.5 pollution in 2010 was
also estimated based on population sizes and PM10 concentration
statistics published in the National Statistical Yearbook 2010."
He said the study also calculates mortalities caused by PM2.5
this year, together with figures based on potential improvement
However, researchers conceded that the study has many limitations.
"The data we used, though they're the best we can get, are still
limited," Pan said. He said the data mainly came from independent
research institutions in the four cities, not official sources, which
may affect the results.
The central government recently started to ask major cities to start releasing readings of PM2.5 levels to the public.
"The result is an estimation, based on a probabilistic method in statistics, with a possibility of uncertainty," Pan said.
Li said that the study only takes into consideration a relatively
short-term effect of PM2.5 pollution, without measuring the possible
health effects of other major pollutants in the air, such as black
carbon and ozone, which may result in an underestimation of the health
On Dec 12, a policy study executive report was released to the
China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and
Development, an organization chaired by Vice-Premier Li Keqiang. The
report also mentioned the relationship between premature deaths and
It cited an estimate by the WHO that 470,000 Chinese died prematurely in 2008 due to air pollution.
"A World Bank study showed China's deaths and diseases caused by
air pollution in 2003 brought an economic loss of 160 billion yuan,
equivalent to 1.16 percent of GDP that year," read the Regional Air
Quality Integrated Control System Research report, written by a team led
by Hao Jiming, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a
professor at Tsinghua University's School of Environment.