A baby being given nebulizer therapy at Beijing Children’s Hospital.
BEIJING — I RECENTLY found myself hauling a bag filled with 12 boxes of
milk powder and a cardboard container with two sets of air filters
through San Francisco International Airport. I was heading to my home in
Beijing at the end of a work trip, bringing back what have become two
of the most sought-after items among parents here, and which were
desperately needed in my own household.
is the world’s second largest economy, but the enormous costs of its
growth are becoming apparent. Residents of its boom cities and a growing
number of rural regions question the safety of the air they breathe,
the water they drink and the food they eat. It is as if they were living
in the Chinese equivalent of the Chernobyl or Fukushima nuclear