Chinese factories affecting US air quality, study finds

BEIJING — Bad air from China is blowing across the Pacific Ocean and contributing to smog in the United States, according to new scientific research.

And much of that air pollution is being caused by the manufacturing of goods inside China for export to the United States and Europe.

‘‘We’ve outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us,’’ said University of California at Irvine scientist Steve Davis, a coauthor of the study. ‘‘Given the complaints about how Chinese pollution is corrupting other countries’ air, this paper shows that there may be plenty of blame to go around.’’


The paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday and, according to its researchers, is the first to quantify how much of the pollution reaching the west coast of the United States is caused by production in China.

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Less manufacturing in the United States in recent years has led to better air in its eastern regions. But harmful pollutants wafting in from China have harmed the West, according to the study.

Los Angeles gets at least one more day each year that exceeds federal ozone standards because of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide emitted by Chinese factories. And up to a quarter of sulfate pollution on the West Coast can be tied to Chinese exports, the report says.