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Dust

Exposing children early in life to dust may actually protect them from developing asthma, rather than triggering it. If that's the case, there must be very little asthma in China, which is home to fierce recurring dust storms that blow dangerous debris halfway across the earth.

Netherlands researcher Dr. Jeroen Dowes found that childrens' exposure to the tiny bacteria in dust, starting at three months old, definitely contributed to their NOT developing asthma, the disease that killed Ramona Bell.

Meanwhile, Clifford Coonan writes in the Independent that every year, sandstorms in China deposit an estimated 300,000 tons of sand from the Gobi desert onto Beijing, bringing traces of heavy metals and carcinogens with them, that from the thousands of construction sites around the city.

According to the World Bank, 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China. If the ordindary Chinese citizen has to bear much more of this, there could be a revolt?or, as state environmental protection official Zhou Shengxian so delicately puts it, "The environment has become a focal issue that triggers social contradictions."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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