BEIJING (AP) -- Clouds of smoke from Lunar New Year fireworks
sent air pollution in Beijing soaring under a new more sensitive
Readings of fine particulate matter called PM2.5 were about 100
times worse on the Jan. 22 eve of the holiday than the amount
considered good for 24-hour exposure, the city's environmental
The reading drew wide publicity in the local media on Sunday.
Concern has grown over air pollution from automobiles and other
sources, prompting the city this month to begin measuring PM2.5 --
particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size. That's about 1/30th the width of an average human hair.
Because of their small size, the particles can lodge deeply in the lungs and are believed to pose the greatest risk to health.