Three-eights of the population of mainland China breathe air that would be rated “unhealthy” by American standards, contributing to an estimated 1.6 million deaths a year, The New York Times reported, citing a scientific paper released by statistical research organization Berkeley Earth. The paper also maps the geographic sources of China’s toxic air and concludes that much of the smog that routinely shrouds Beijing comes from emissions in a far-off industrial zone, an indication of the regional extent of air pollution problems in the country. The authors calculate that the annual toll is 95% likely to fall between 700,000 and 2.2 million deaths; their estimate of 1.6 million is that range’s midpoint.
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