Filthy emissions from China's export industries are carried across the Pacific Ocean and contribute to air pollution in the Western United States, according to a paper published Monday by a prominent American science journal.
The research is the first to quantify how air pollution in the United States is affected by China's production of goods for export and by global consumer demand for those goods, the study's authors say. It was written by nine scholars based in three nations and was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which last year published a paper by other researchers that found a drop in life spans in northern China because of air pollution.
(Read more: How China's economy is choking on smog)
The latest paper explores the environmental consequences of interconnected economies. The scientists wrote that "outsourcing production to China does not always relieve consumers in the United States — or for that matter many countries in the Northern Hemisphere — from the environmental impacts of air pollution."
The movement of air pollutants associated with the production of goods in China for the American market has resulted in a decline in air quality in the Western United States, the scientists wrote, though less manufacturing in the United States does mean cleaner air in the American East.