Recipients of PSC Small Grant Awards
The impact of air pollution on the health of the aging population in China
The present research aims to understand the impact of air pollution on the health of the aging population in China, given China is among the countries facing the most severe challenge in tackling the two problems at the same time. I plan to use longitudinal survey data (The China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study) that tracks aging outcomes (measured by biomarkers that reflect organ functioning and frailty) among mid-aged and older adults. A vital contribution of my research is to harness the impact of global climate change on local abnormal atmospherical phenomenons as a nonhuman factor in air quality. It will help me disentangle the effect of air pollution on population health from the effect of economic development, given in developing countries air pollution is usually associated with economic development and income growth. The understanding of health cost of air pollution in an aging society, as will be illustrated by my research, implies not only policy and individual behavior change but also global climate change, given air pollution and climate change are linked worldwide. This link is particularly valid for China since past studies have shown China’s air pollution – the result of the gathering of air pollutants from fossil fuel combustion is itself responsible for masking a considerable proportion of greenhouse gas forcing in the past century.