A 20-year study examining air pollution data from across China finds that life expectancy in the North of the country has been reduced by 5.5 years.
The researchers found that a seemingly arbitrary Mao-era economic policy on coal-fired boilers for winter heating created dramatic differences in air quality within China. North of the Huai River, the government provided free coal, while to the south, people were essentially denied central heat. In effect, this policy created two experimental groups that could be compared with each other, and the impact of burning coal on air quality -- and on health -- could be isolated and quantified.
"We will never, thank goodness, have a randomized, controlled trial where we expose some people to more pollution and other people to less pollution over the course of their lifetimes," said MIT's Michael Greenstone, one of the authors. "It's not that the Chinese government set out to cause [a negative effect on health]. This was the unintended consequence" of the policy at the time.
Greenstone and his coauthors found that north of the river, total suspended particulates, or TSPs, were over 500 micrograms per cubic meter, or 55% higher than levels in the south. Life expectancy in the north was 5.5 years lower -- almost entirely because of higher incidences of cardiorespiratory deaths.
|Crowd-Funded Patent-Free Cancer Drug|
|R.I.P. Homeopathy, 1796 - 2011 (via @brx0)|
|Chemicals Found in Shampoo and Other Consumer Products Have Never Been Thoroughly Tested and Proved to be Safe|
|Artificial Graphene Retina Can Interface with Optical Nerve|
|“The entire practice of medicine can be revolutionized by technology.”|
|“Bias, error, and misuse of Artificial Intelligence technologies.”|
|“The direction of the cost of storage is less clear and depends on metals prices.”|
|“We need to make algorithms transparent, regulated, and forgiving of the flawed creatures that converse with them.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|Naked Preacher Lady [NSFW]|
|“Pack Behaviors in Autonomous Robots.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|Boardwalk Empire: Time Lapse Video|
|If Sir David Attenborough Restored Vintage Toys|
|Google Map Shows You the Most Photographed Areas of the World|