PureLiving China founder Louie Cheng and Beijing United’s Dr. Richard Saint Cyr, MD joined forces at the International School of Beijing to clarify facts and dispel myths surrounding pollution in China, and what steps expat residents should take to limit their risks.
The ISB-hosted talk, “Everything you’ve always wanted to know about indoor air and water in China…but were afraid to ask,” highlighted the long-term effects of health effects of air pollution exposure, the health risks posed by indoor pollutants such as VOCs, mold, and lead, and steps to mitigate such risks. Participants also gained an understanding of the scope of water treatment and pollution in Beijing, and ways to mitigate those risks.
With respect to maintaining healthy indoor air, Cheng emphasized the importance of employing air filters while also periodically ventilating indoor spaces with fresh air from outside. Saint Cyr advocated outdoor protection from pollution as well, such as the use of N95 masks, and school adoption of air action plans with respect to outdoor recess, physical education, and organized sports. He highlighted the Great London Smog of 1952 as an event that triggered interest in legislation.
“Optimally, 20 minutes of ventilation is enough to air out your home and rid it of elevated levels of VOCs,” advised Cheng. “This is best followed by closing all windows and doors and turning HEPA air filters back on. That way, you’ve vented your home and reduced VOC levels, but the particulate matter from outside air can then be brought down to normal levels after an hour or so at a higher setting.”
Saint Cyr, who is author of the award-winning expat blog www.myhealthbeijing.com, also underscored the importance eating a healthy diet high in anti-oxidants, not smoking, regular exercise, and weight control. Additionally, he recommended vigilance in food shopping, favoring reliable organic produce, making yogurt and soy milk at home, and avoiding the use of BPA plastics products for all family members.
Both presentations from Louie Cheng and Dr. Saint Cyr are available to the public: