Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Could Beijing's Polluted Air Sicken Olympic Spectators?

DiscoblogBy Andrew MosemanJuly 23, 2008 1:17 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The Chinese government has been scrambling to cut down on air pollution before the world's best athletes compete in the Olympics next month; they've closed down factories near Beijing and allowed people to drive their cars only every other day. But according to researchers from Northwestern University, athletes aren't the only ones who need to be wary of dirty air. Even spectators, they say, could suffer serious health problems from traveling to China for the games. According to Dr. Gokhan Mutlu, people with cardiovascular disease, or risk factors like obesity, diabetes, or high cholesterol, could be at risk for a heart attack or stroke from spending too much time in the Beijing air. The microscopic particles in polluted air, like those from a coal plant or diesel truck, can make blood thicker and sticky, he says. Even if you have a healthy visit to China, you're not off the hook—Mutlu says the same pollutant particles can cause blood clots, especially if you spend too much time sitting down on one of those marathon flights back to the States. So what's a globe-trotting sports fan to do? Men over 40 should take aspirin, the researchers say, and everyone would do themselves a favor by staying inside during rush hour, when cars in traffic jams are spewing forth exhaust. And what about that lengthy flight home? Make sure you get up occasionally and walk around. That's probably good for you no matter where you're flying to or from.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/BD2412

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 50%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In