See Inside August 2008

Is China's Pollution Poisoning Its Children?

Epidemiologists find molecular clues to air pollution's impact on youngsters

Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Editor's Note: This story was published in the August issue of Scientific American.

A few heaping piles of scrap metal and a rusty coal shed are all that is left of the power plant that until recently squatted like an immense, smoke-belching dragon in the middle of Tongliang, a gray city of 100,000 in south-central China. As we walk toward the shed, a Belgian Shepherd begins barking furiously, jerking its iron chain and baring sharp teeth. A brown-eyed face peeks out from the open doorway—it belongs to a girl in a stained shirt, holding a tabby cat that jumps away to hide under a slab of concrete as we approach. The girl is no more than six or seven years old and appears to be living in the shed with her father, who watches us warily from within.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article