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China is a Dirty Place
There are many and it is growing in numbers. Many citizens and those flocking to China for work and business are now realizing that in certain urban areas, the golden goose is mired in health risks.
The safest place to live and work is in Hong Kong, which has levels of toxic air pollution closer to NYC or LA, but even there, it is high by US standards. The FAR worse places to avoid living in are Dongying which is like breathing cancer in daily with air pollution indexes WAY over 200. The safe level, BTW, is not more than 100. Other places that have pollution levels over 100 include: Tianjin, Shanghai, Beijing and Chongging. By comparison to US cities, Houston, Pittsburgh, LA, NY, Washington, D.C., and Detroit pale in comparison- the first two are around 60, the remainder are all between 25-50, according to EPA standards.
As China tries to lure executives to work and live in China and bring their families, there is a growing trend that "money is not everything" and many job offers to foreigners are rejected because of health concerns. Locals are also trying to escape to a safer environment in Hong Kong.
But it is not just the air, it is the safety of its food. The recent discovery of 6000 pigs dead floating in a major water supply remains alarming. The new flu strain that has killed many there is another. China's dirty air accounts for 1.2 million premature deaths, which is second to smoking a cigarette.
Recruiting for foreign workers is now a difficult process for many. The money may be great, but the health risks are also. China now has "air domes" that cover huge areas of space for people to escape toxic air when levels reach over 200. Remember, the safe level is 100. These domes are 18,000 sq. ft. Air purifiers are now a must everywhere and sales have zoomed into the stratosphere. Office buildings all have them costing up to $100K.
Yet, at the end of the day, one still must enter the bad air after leaving the office. fight the hoards of people doing the same, worry about the whether the food is free of insecticides, pesticides, disease and so on. Paying more does not always mean it is safer.
Also, China's air pollution does contaminate the neighboring air in adjacent countries and the world in general as the jet stream carries the manufacturing pollutants across the oceans.