An article in today's New York Times is of critical importance--to our planet. And it goes to show you: revolutions can happen when moms get mad. Mothers in China are justifiably concerned about raising children in cities with such extremely high levels of filthy air pollution that they cannot see down the block.

Children are becoming seriously ill. Mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants are damaging developing brains, hearts and lungs of fetuses and toddlers. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. The article interviews Chinese mothers who don't let their children go to playgrounds. They don't let their children leave their apartments. Families who can afford to are leaving China to work in places with cleaner air. And "Clean Air Vacations" are being marketed--for those who can afford them--to mountain refuges far from Chinese cities. People buy air purifiers for their apartments, though those have limited efficacy.

And Chinese parents are angry about the pollution. They do not trust their government to keep them safe.

A few excerpts from the piece are at the bottom of this post, but I urge you to read it through. Why? Because the Chinese government will continue to make serious inroads on developing renewable energy supplies--or face revolution from people who know they are being poisoned.

As goes China, so goes the planet.

You all must keep in mind: here in the United States, many coal companies are doing everything they can to stop progress on cleaning up their toxic emissions. Right now, those mercury regulations we fought so hard to win are on the ropes. The rules are being tied up in courts for years by coal utilities, led by Nick Akins, president and CEO of American Electric Power. That's right. A consortium of utilities is suing for the right to spew toxic mercury into the air we all breathe.

We can read stories about poisonous Chinese air, and feel rather smug about how clean our air is by comparison. But we must remember that there are plenty of clean air enemies here who put profit above health, even our children's health. And we must remember that we share the air--including poisons, whether they are blowing in from Ohio, or China.


Scientific studies justify fears of long-term damage to children and fetuses. A studypublished by The New England Journal of Medicine showed that children exposed to high levels of air pollution can suffer permanent lung damage. The research was done in the 1990s in Los Angeles, where levels of pollution were much lower than those in Chinese cities today.
study by California researchers published last month suggested a link between autism in children and the exposure of pregnant women to traffic-related air pollution. Columbia University researchers, in a study done in New York, found that prenatal exposure to air pollutants could result in children with anxiety, depression and attention-span problems. Some of the same researchers found in an earlier study that children in Chongqing, China, who had prenatal exposure to high levels of air pollutants from a coal-fired plant were born with smaller head circumferences, showed slower growth and performed less well on cognitive development tests at age 2. The shutdown of the plant resulted in children born with fewer difficulties.


JSBB said...

Worse yet, what goes up must come down. An interview with science writer Richard Harris on NPR yesterday (Earth Day) revealed that these toxins are raining down on and damaging our fragile oceans at a terrifying rate. Harris stated that climate science, which he studied, is no longer useful -- the facts are clear. What's needed now, he said, is a new generation of scientists studying how to implement clean energy.

deana sidney said...

I am so angry at climate change deniers arguing that pollution has nothing to do with global warming so burn away. I wonder if the conversation were altered to speak to the human damage that pollution causes leading to shorter and poorer quality lives for all of us. The rich can hide in climate controlled apartments but is that really living?

Bravo Chinese women for saying ENOUGH>

Donna Baker said...

It is Jim Inhofe everyone. Remember his name. A powerful right-wing Senator in Washington, he lines his pockets with monies from the energy companies and fights against anyone who says there is global warming. He wants to do away with the EPA, lower standards for emissions and on and on. I have posted about him before in my blog. Jim Inhofe, don't forget his name. If he is for it, you better run in the other direction.

DeltaBluesChick said...

I had no idea that coal plants throw mercury into the environment. Can they add safety features to mitigate the toxins? Like scrubbers on the stacks?

Anonymous said...

To keep a binge from coming go thinspiration 5 4 outside and exercise and to the junk food
you listed on day 11.

Feel free to visit my web blog http://weighless-now.com/