Dr Zhang’s analysis estimates that in 2007—the first year for which complete industrial, epidemiological and trade data were available when the team started work—more than 3m premature deaths around the world were caused by emissions of fine particulate matter (known as PM2.5, because the particles in question are less than 2.5 microns across).
Of these, the team reckon just under an eighth were associated with pollutants released in a part of the world different from that in which the death occurred, thanks to transport of such particles from place to place by the wind. Almost twice as many (22% of the total) were a consequence of goods and services that were produced in one region (often poor) and then exported for consumption in another (often rich, and with more finicky environmental standards for its own manufacturers).This is very much in line with comments I made about this phenomenon almost exactly four years ago:
To be sure, every country that has gone through industrialization has gone through the pain of the pollution that is the byproduct of using a lot of fossil fuels to power a growing economy. Post-industrial societies have managed to reduce pollution partly through improved technology (which China has been slow to adopt, largely because it is expensive and thus drives up the prices of the goods sold), and partly by shipping those economic functions off to other places--like China. If China is unable to off-load its polluting industries to some other place (India, for example?) then it may be forced to adopt new fuels and new technology, or else find that its population will be growing even more slowly as the death rate climbs.Indeed, the map below shows that Asia in particular has been "importing" deaths that are being "exported" especially from North America, Europe and Australia.