August 13, 2007

Beijing 2008:: Bring a mask.

posted by SummersEve to other at 09:31 AM - 11 comments

Wilber and his team at the USOC's Performance Services Division are recommending an unusual addition to US athletes' bag of competitive tricks: activated-charcoal face masks, both on the field and off. They've also put out a handy booklet of 2008 Olympic survival tips, such as using over-the-counter ibuprofen or indomethacin to partially block pollution's lung-searing effects. I wonder if it's really this bad or if this is from the "Beat up on the host of the next Olympics" file. Reference: Athens, construction.

posted by SummersEve at 09:35 AM on August 13, 2007

the atmosphere around Beijing becomes a photochemical bouillabaisse... I couldn't get past here. "Photochemical bouillabaisse" is euphonic perfection. I can't stop saying it over and over.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 09:59 AM on August 13, 2007

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Euphonic Perfection in FPP Number 9000! Interesting article, SummersEve - thanks for posting it.

posted by JJ at 10:29 AM on August 13, 2007

This makes me feel really bad for the marathon runners, and I'm forced to wonder if waiting five years for the next one isn't such a bad idea.

posted by oxocerite at 12:31 PM on August 13, 2007

I wonder if it's really this bad... It is. I heard the exercise physiologist for the Canadian women's soccer team on NPR last week [NPR story is available] and he talked about a Pollution Index and used examples like these: Normal Washington, DC day: 30-40 Health Warnings, Washington, DC: 60 Do not leave your home if you have any health problems: 90 Bejing? 170 most days with the worst days at 240!

posted by scully at 05:54 PM on August 13, 2007

I was in Beijing not so long ago. When it rained, black spots appeared on my windows. God knows what was going into my lungs.

posted by owlhouse at 08:38 PM on August 13, 2007

It is filthy here. They'll have a number of cunning plans in place in an attempt to make it nice for the Games: traffic controls; cloud seeding in the run up in the hopes of having the rain bring the filth down etc. but it will still be pretty grim I reckon. The govt got part of a recent World Bank environment report suppressed prior to publication because it pointed out the massive excess mortality in China due to pollution. I solve the problem by only inhaling through filter-tipped cigarettes.

posted by Abiezer at 09:19 PM on August 13, 2007

Abiezer, it's so simple it just might work.

posted by JJ at 03:44 AM on August 14, 2007

Perhaps this could be the catalyst for some real change (in China and the developing world) as well as a nice reminder to the developed world (especially a certain administration trying to gut the Clean Air Act).

posted by kokaku at 07:08 AM on August 14, 2007

I just got back from six days in Beijing. The pollution was very bad on the first two days, but the skies cleared markedly for the rest of the trip. I would say that for four days it was typical-big-city air -- not exactly clean, but nothing that experienced athletes would worry about. Whether that was a happy coincidence -- I was there with delegates from 200 other NOCs -- or due to BOCOG's good management, I can't say. Probably mostly luck, but still hopeful. BOCOG still has some short-term solutions (or cunning plans, as Abiezer calls them) in its pocket for showtime. During the seminar it was clear that the "Green Olympics" theme was central to BOCOG's message. We were bombarded with material (posters, books, brochures, speeches, and newspaper articles) assuring us that things are getting better, environmentally speaking. Here's another article on this subject, from today's papers.

posted by Amateur at 10:19 AM on August 14, 2007

MY guess is they could try traffic calming and idle some factories around the time of the Games, but it just seems like one year is too little time for any meaningful or even superficial change. I hope I'm wrong, for the sake of the athletes, and more importantly, people living in China.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:21 PM on August 14, 2007

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