The Sun’s Gonna Shine

After a rain, the sun just came out!! View from our balcony.

Beijing city gates throughthe smog, yesterday, AQI around 385.

In Los Angeles, air pollution rated 90 on the AQI (Air Quality Index) has been shown to hurt kids’ lung development. Over 100 in most places is called “ozone alert day,” unsafe for sensitive people, like those with ashthma. The danger here is ultrafine dust. The same EPA index (there’s a monitor on the rooftop of the American Embassy) rated Beijing’s air the past few days over 300, or “Dangerous.” “Emergency” conditions occurred, with AQI over 500 (also called “Beyond Index,” and “super crazy bad”) twice this fall. Once was Sunday.

Note that 200 is four times worse than 100, and Beijing is only China’s fourth most polluted city.

Expats are obsessed with this. We “splurged” on a Swedish air purifier for the kids’ room. The international schools use air purifiers and cancel recess and sports over 250. Our special Japanese “Totobobo” masks required a daytrip to the 1 store that carries them.

China Daily today reports today Chinese lung cancer rates up 50% in the past decade, nationwide. (Pancreatic cancer, newsy after Steve Jobs’ death, was reported, in Shanghai, to be up 500% in 2010, versus 1980.)

Considering the lavish love given to [only] children here, the carefree attitude about kids’ seatbelts & helmets surprises. Brilliant academics don’t have air purifiers at home.

And I have never seen an air mask on a child.

8 comments on “The Sun’s Gonna Shine

  1. vincelb says:

    Yow! You’re one brave family. Shana tovah from LA!


  2. dan coplan says:

    looks like a sci-fi film


  3. Aren Moss says:

    Hi guys. That is bad that the pollution is really high in China. The pollution is really low here. It must be hard wearing a mask when the AQI is really high.

    Aren Moss


  4. […] Embassy’s Air Quality Index, or AQI) has been above 400 this week & today, a multiple of emergency health conditions almost impossible to express. I didn’t put Ethan in his mask yesterday because our Chinese playdate didn’t have […]


  5. venomous says:

    The Totobobo mask looks promising. How good is it in actual use?


  6. The mask is excellent. The boys don’t wear it much, only on extreme days (300+, 400+) but it fits as advertised. You would be amazed how blackened the filter gets. We went through a spare set of filters in our first 5,6 months using it. Not cheap.

    The only “problem” is almost like a social one: it’s like you’re implicitly criticizing your friends, or being inhospitable not having one to offer them, because you’re the only one with it on. You stand out and it becomes a constant source of stares. Imagine someone’s taking you on an excursion, I wear one, they don’t–awkward. Or I entertain some kids in a park, my kids & I wear one, the children with me don’t? It becomes awkward. It’s sad how few people respond to the pollution…

    They are catching on here at Beijing Foreign Studies University, among a few int’l exchange students and some members of the European faculty.


  7. venomous says:

    That’s great! thanks for getting back so quickly.


  8. Keneth Rynders says:

    There are several good choices for consumers existing in today’s marketplace. Your choices of air purifier may be completely different based according to what you are trying to achieve in your particular indoor air quality situation. For instance, if your main goal is to clear your air of allergens, you should choose an air purifier which would remove the large particulate matter such as pollen or dust with a pre-filter, but also the smaller allergens, ie: particulates from 0.3 to 5 microns in size. These smaller allergens include mold, bacteria, various animal danders, fumes (volatile organinc compounds: VOC’s) and house dust mite allergens among other things. ”

    My current blog


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