On Sunday, a friend of mine in China wrote an ominous, two-word post on WeChat: “Broke out.” He meant that a mysterious surge in cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, a city in central China, was, in fact, an outbreak of something more serious.
The first case of the Wuhan virus was detected on Dec. 12. Until last Thursday, only 45 cases, with two deaths, all in Wuhan, had been reported, and no health care workers were said to have been infected. The virus was mild, we were told then, with no evidence of human-to-human transmission; all confirmed cases seemed to originate from a food market where live animals are sold.… Seguir leyendo »
As my plane was landing in Beijing in mid-December, I realized I had forgotten to bring my N95 respirator mask, and instantly regretted it. But that day turned out to be clear, if chilly. A Chinese public-health expert later told me that it was no exception: There were far fewer days of smog in 2017 than just a couple of years ago.
Terrific, I thought — until I came to understand the unintended costs of the dramatic improvement in the capital’s air quality.
To reduce the levels of hazardous particles known as PM2.5, the Chinese authorities started a major campaign in 2013 to convert coal-generated heating to gas or electric heating.… Seguir leyendo »
An April report by China’s national broadcaster CCTV detailed the manufacturing process followed by 16 companies that sell preserved fruit. It made the meat-packing methods described by Upton Sinclair in “The Jungle” a century ago seem pale by comparison.
Rotten peaches pickled in outdoor pools surrounded by garbage are spiked with sodium metabisulfite to keep the fruit looking fresh and with bleaching agents and additives harmful to the human liver and kidneys. The peaches are packed in uncleaned bags that previously held animal feed and then shipped off to big-brands stores.
Toxic preserved fruit is the latest item on China’s expanding list of unsafe food products.… Seguir leyendo »