Lung Cancer in China Explodes While Authorities Demand Silence
|December 28, 2013||Posted by Staff under Health|
China’s doctors are beginning to speak of a link between air pollution and lung cancer. Children as young as 8 have been treated.
This 2013 excerpt of the Los Angeles Times, Dec 24, is by Barbara Demick.
Back in the 1970s, the textbook lung cancer patient was a chain-smoking male in his 60s. Nowadays, Dr. Bai sees so many who are still in their 20s that the cases blend together. “When I see patients who are not smokers with no other risk factors, we have to assume that the most probable cause is pollution,” said Bai.
Increasingly, other Chinese physicians are reaching the same conclusion. At a time when cigarette smoking is on the decline in China, the nation is facing an explosion of lung cancer cases. In the last three decades, an era in which China industrialized, deaths from lung cancer have risen 465%.
Microscopic particles from exhaust, coal smoke, and vehicle fumes burrow their way into lungs. The World Health Organization classifies particulate levels between 300 and 500 micrograms per cubic meter as hazardous. When readings approached 1,000 in Harbin city, residents said they couldn’t see their dogs at the end of the leash.
The Harbin “airpocalypse,” as it was dubbed, was caused mostly by coal, which remains the major heating source in China.
Ten years ago, it was sensitive to talk about smoking because the tobacco industry was so important to the Chinese economy. Now it feels safe to talk about smoking. But for pollution, people are not prepared to talk about it. The doctor who first disclosed the case of an 8-year-old girl with lung cancer appears to have been publicly silenced.
Ed. Notes: If only rulers would demand solutions as much as they demand acquiescence. There are technical solutions awaiting on shelves. But governments won’t find them, thinking inside the box. They’d have to become open to what works. Besides treating the symptom — the exhaust — there are cleaner fuels, more efficient engines, less wasteful modes of heating and transportation, and better urban settlement patterns that don’t need as much energy intake. But to enjoy these benefits, the Chinese rulers would have to geonomize, and to that they’d have to quit relying on force and just give the people the opportunity to do the right thing, something Confucius might’ve said. To date, the Chinese rulers have made many rational decisions, so there is hope.