The Beijing Olympics are less than a year away, and many athletes and scientists are voicing concerns about the level of pollution and poor air quality in China. Several articles have recently appeared in the New York Times highlighting the dire health risks associated with exposure to dense, particulate-filled air.
Clearing the Air: The Health and Economic Damages of Air Pollution in China examines the national damage caused by China's degraded air quality. This volume represents a pathbreaking, interdisciplinary U.S.-China collaboration that utilizes unique approaches to measuring and synthesizing the health and economic consequences of dirty air.
Mun S. Ho and Chris P. Nielsen, the editors of this book, write in their introduction “With a focus on health risk, we must keep in mind that what concerns us is not the level of pollution itself, but rather the level that reaches human lungs-a distinction that fundamentally motivates and shapes this assessment. We must consider such factors as the rapid urbanization in China and how expanding cities and rural-to-urban migration locate an increasing proportion of Chinese citizenry nearer to pollution sources. In terms of total population risk, this could even outweigh whatever gains in pollution control have occurred. The crucial factor of human exposure is not often considered carefully in pollution damage assessments in China.”
Olympic athletes train under a wide array of conditions to simulate competition day, but how to train for air pollution is yet to be determined.