SEP 05, 2017 3:32 PM PDT

The Science of Smog

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Last year, Beijing issued several red pollution alerts, warning its residents of dangerously high levels of smog in the atmosphere. The red alert is the highest of a four-level alert system that warns residents of dangerous levels of smog blanketing the city.

The smog that hit Beijing in December of 2017 was estimated at just shy of 300 micrograms per cubic meter of particulate matter. This is about 12 times above what the World Health Organization considers as maximum safe level.

The health effects of the Beijing smog is undeniable. Residents have a name for it - the "Beijing cough," which describes a dry hacking cough and a constant itchy throat. The smog can also trigger other respiratory-related illnesses, such as asthma attacks and bronchitis. Long-term, breathing in polluted air has cost more than a million Chinese lives - the highest toll of any country.

Watch the video and learn how pollution affects your your health.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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