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Pm 2.5 and Air Pollution in China

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Tianyou Liu

Professor Brain Naasz

Chemistry 104

3 December 2017

PM 2.5 and Air Pollution in China

My paper will be about the air pollution problem in Hunan, China, specifically about PM 2.5; what health effects it has on humans, where it came from and how it became a problem, and ways to solve it.

Environmental chemistry discussion

There is a wide range of chemicals in sunscreens, organic (about 50 kinds) and inorganic UV-filters. Among them, many could be toxic to aquatic organisms, according to chemistry professor David Sánchez-Quiles. Although there is no immediate effect to humans, there are a lot of these chemicals bioaccumulating through food webs. Moreover, they can be harmful to specific marine organisms. This means even though we cannot see the consequences right now, it is likely that they will have adverse affects in future. Because humans are eating some of the fishes, and the effect of these chemicals on ecosystem can be transferred to fishes; humans will be the ultimate consumer of chemicals in sunscreen.    

Economic Arguments        

In a lot of coastal area, tourism is a huge boost for the economy. The Mediterranean Sea is a great example where there were more than 11 million tourists in 2013 and sun care market with almost € 7.0 billion forecasted in 2014; moreover, the world population in coastal-zone is said to grow by 4 times by 2080 (David Sánchez-Quiles). Obviously, sunscreens carried on skins of tourists would have brought tons of chemicals into the Mediterranean Sea. The profit in sunscreen is a huge factor of the environmental issues.  

         

Solutions

From the economic argument above, we can see the scale of the sunscreen market. And since it might become a problem in the future, I think it is for the best that the sun care industry pays a small additional tax on their products. The money can be established as a fund for developing cleaner, more environmentally friendly sunscreens in the future, as well as finding solutions for the current environmental problems sunscreens cause. An alternative approach, is advocating for people to use SPF clothing and full-body swimsuits, which will cause no harm to the ocean ecosystem but are less convenient than sunscreens. Although there is no regulation about banning all the sunscreens and forcing people to wear SPF clothing instead, the Australian market for sun protective clothing has become much larger than the market for sunscreen (Coolibar). Australia is an example of successfully using SPF clothing and full-body swimsuits to replace sunscreens.

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