A new study has revealed that Beijing’s lovely smog has—in addition to plenty of fireworks dust, industrial soot, and auto exhaust—more than a thousand different species of bacteria, fungus, and otherwise icky germs.
While it’s certainly a good thing that scientists are analyzing China’s smog and classifying its ingredients, the odds of such work producing positive results (i.e. “Oh hey, turns out this smog lowers your cholesterol) seems pretty much nil. Instead, we get “Oh hey, turns out this smog is made out of germs.”
The study was published by Tsinghua University biologist Ting Zhu, who spoke to the LA Times:
“The purpose of our study was to add to our understanding of the microbes we inhale every day,” said [Ting Zhu]. To do so, they took measurements during a five-day episode of severe smog in Beijing in January 2013. […]
Most of the microbes detected by scientists were harmless bacteria that are commonly found in soil.
But the study found some bacteria and fungi that are known to cause allergies and respiratory diseases. Some of those pathogens were found in higher proportions in air samples collected on the smoggiest days.