The goods produced in China and sold to the U.S. come at an environmental cost, according to a new study. Scientists are linking air pollution in the Western United States to China’s booming exports.
Westerly winds can carry air pollution from China across the Pacific Ocean in just a few days. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers in the U.K., China and the U.S. It estimated that ozone, carbon monoxide and sulfate concentrations in the Western U.S. increased by as much as 2% specifically from the goods China manufactures to sell to the U.S. And within China, roughly 5% of emissions of carbon monoxide, black carbon and other pollutants came from making those exports, according to the report. Coal-burning factories were the biggest sources of the air pollutants. The amount of air pollution in the Western U.S. from China is still very small, compared to the amount produced domestically. Exports made up almost ¼ of China’s economic output last year.
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