Report: Twenty Percent of First-Graders In Taipai Have Asthma and Fifty Percent Have Rhinitis

220px-TaipeiViewFromMaokongWe have previously discussed the unhealthy pollution in China, particularly air pollution that has set records in the last couple years in Beijing. The situation is little better in Taipei, where a recent report found that more than 20 percent of first-graders suffer from asthma and 50 percent have allergic rhinitis, the inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose. The findings of the Taiwan Association of Asthma Education reflect the human cost — particularly among children — of pollution — a cost often ignored even in this country by politicians who espouse economic over environmental values.

I recall going to Taipei over 15 years ago on a delegation and meeting with the president and top ministers. The pollution was so bad that I lost my voice within three days. They called it an “American cough” because Westerners unaccustomed to high levels of air pollution would often experience the loss of their voice or persistent coughing. At the time, the environmental minister took me to a window and pointed down into the street and told me the problem was right before my eyes. Down below the street was covered with scooters, which he said were the main cause of their problems due to their high pollution factor. The other problem is obviously congestion on the island.

To the credit of the Taiwanese, they have always been more open and public about their pollution problem than the Communist Chinese. The mainland Chinese only recently began to release pollution figures, which are still routinely criticized as manipulated. The government is particularly fearful of releasing data on the impact of the runaway pollution on children given the country’s “one child” policy. On a separate trip to Beijing about 5 years ago, I raised the likely impact on children with asthma at a conference due to the failure to address pollution. The government continues to suppress the figures on such illnesses and the links to pollution. The health impact on the mainland is likely worse than the figures in this Taipei study.

In this study, 50 percent of the first-graders in Taipei have allergic rhinitis, 20 percent have asthma and nearly 10 percent suffer from atopic dermatitis.” What is particularly alarming is that of those who were been diagnosed with asthma in 2009, 72.4 percent have failed to visit doctors regularly in the past year.

Even in this country, it is difficult to get politicians to address the deaths and illnesses caused by pollution despite studies showing the impact of truck pollution and ship pollution on the population. While politicians often profess “family values,” they routinely side with industry in fighting environmental protections needed to protect families from asthma, cancer, and other environmental hazards.

 Source: Taipei Times

12 thoughts on “Report: Twenty Percent of First-Graders In Taipai Have Asthma and Fifty Percent Have Rhinitis”

  1. I visited Taipei more than 10 years back and the air was bad…so bad when I took a shower and gently scraped my nails down my exposed skin, dark grey gunk collected there. I did not stay long enough to develop the cough. The countryside air was a welcome relief. On a good note…they did complete their subway system in Taipei…can it be made better to get some folks to leave the scooters at home?

  2. Family Values™:

    “At the center of it all is a way of thinking about class that both encourages class hostility of the kind we see in Kansas and simultaneously denies the economic basis of the grievance.” — Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas?

  3. Not to be picky, but it is spelled “Taipei”, not “Taipai”.

  4. China’s going through what the U.S. did in the 50’s, They need to clean up their own air.

  5. Disgusting that they have let it get this bad. As someone with asthma, they are putting a huge burden on their kids future by allowing this to continue.

  6. Hopefully they will develop solar and wind power. Since they are not capitalist per se they might be able to overcome the greed aspect of coal, oil and gas owners which we face in AmeriKa. Our solar panel and array of lighting which works off of DC solar and batteries at our marina was all made off shore in India and China. Woe to Amerika if it does not start getting up to speed on science, technology and manufacturing. We have been listening to the Koch Brothers for too long.

  7. Justice Holmes – Do you really have to create such stereotypes, like a family values person cannot also be concerned about pollution control and protecting the environment? I am a family values person, and this article resonates with me, that caring for the environment is a family value. The gentle nudge of this article is much more profitable than the polarizing post by you that completely misjudges people like me. Try a little more love and a little less hate please.

  8. “This will ensure an endless supply of cheap, poorly made crap that will continue to fuel the wealth of our industrial masters.” -Frankly


    From the USA Today article about the inflatable slide:

    “Michael Aleo’s aunt and uncle purchased the slide from Toys R Us through Toys R Us had imported the slides from China, where they were manufactured.”

  9. This is a good thing. It will eliminate the kids thinking they have any sort of useful future so they will settle for working for the wages offered. This will ensure an endless supply of cheap, poorly made crap that will continue to fuel the wealth of our industrial masters. Can’t make an omelet without breakin a few eggs – just ask the people of Bangladesh.

    Their PM recommended that people keep a cool head and get back to work or they could lose their jobs. There is a PM that understands the marvels of modern industrialization!

  10. Facts, facts, facts. These facts are inconvenient, startling even but American politicians won’t be moved by them to recognize that our low pollution rates are something to be protected not destroyed by lack of enforcement or loosening of the rules. After all the rules cause allergic reactions in corporations and may leaded to a decrease in corporate bribery, I mean, giving to political campaigns.

    Family “values” politicians and voters see life differently than those of us who live in the reality based world where facts matter. Family valises politicians only “believe” in family values to distract humans from what they are doing for their real constituents, corporations. Family values voters believe that we have lower pollution rates because god loves us and that goverment regulation has nothing to do with clean air. They also believe that life begins at conception and ends at breath, at least in terms of government involvement in its protection. As a result, there is significant danger that the more family “values” politicians you have, the more pollution you will have of all kinds.

    It is truly sad for the children and people of Taiwan. I fear for our own.

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