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Pollution a problem for infants/babies?

  1. #1
    Liz1975 is offline Registered User
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    Pollution a problem for infants/babies?

    Hi All,

    We are considering a move to HK and will have a 2-3 month old (our first). I have been doing a ton of reading on the pollution problem in HK and wondering if anyone has information about the potential health risks to babies? How "real" is the problem? I live in NYC, and heard that the pollution is 50% worse in HK. I am concerned that our baby could develop long term health problems like asthma, etc.

    We hear that mid levels are great for young families, but I'm wondering how the air quality is there? Is it better on the South Side?

    Thank you for your help!

  2. #2
    niutalent is offline Registered User
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    Dear Liz,

    I live in Mid-Levels and I hate to say it, but the pollution is getting really bad. I have lived in HK for 10 years and it is definitely getting worse. In fact, we are seriously considering moving out of HK and back to U.S. because the air is getting so bad! I try and take my baby for walks every day (she is 3.5 mos) and wonder if I am doing her more bad than good! I am sure it is not doing much good for her health.

    There are many studies now being done in HK about air pollution and its effects on people's health. I think one study said breathing the air here was equal to smoking 8 cigarettes!

    Probably the South Side would be better but again, the pollution levels in HK overall are I believe, definitely getting higher and quality of life deteriorating.

  3. #3
    Liz1975 is offline Registered User
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    Thank you for your feedback. My husband loved Repulse Bay when he visited earlier this month so I'm hoping the air will be a tad better there. I feel like I get mxed information from people living over there re: the air quality and how impactful it is on people's daily lives. I am fairly certain we're moving so I guess it's chance we will have to take. Again, I really appreciate your reply.
    Very best!

  4. #4
    hkgirl is offline Registered User
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    Hi there,
    My baby hasn't had any problems from pollution and we live in Hung Hom, but our friends daughter has chronic bronchitis since moving here, our other friends son has a skin rash that is constant in HK, but disappears when at home for vacation and we know of many other families that have moved out to the New Territories to help their kids asthma and allergies. I always worry about the pollution too and you never know the long term effects. People here are always coughing and hacking and some newspaper writers have joked about how even at symphonies and other "quiet" venues that it sounds like a tuberculosis ward.
    I know this doesn't help if you are moving here anyway, but I guess when you consider how many people live long, healthy lives here, maybe we're too worried??????

  5. #5
    undecided is offline Registered User
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    Thumbs down pollution is bad here

    Quote Originally Posted by niutalent
    Dear Liz,

    I live in Mid-Levels and I hate to say it, but the pollution is getting really bad. I have lived in HK for 10 years and it is definitely getting worse. In fact, we are seriously considering moving out of HK and back to U.S. because the air is getting so bad! I try and take my baby for walks every day (she is 3.5 mos) and wonder if I am doing her more bad than good! I am sure it is not doing much good for her health.

    There are many studies now being done in HK about air pollution and its effects on people's health. I think one study said breathing the air here was equal to smoking 8 cigarettes!

    Probably the South Side would be better but again, the pollution levels in HK overall are I believe, definitely getting higher and quality of life deteriorating.
    Hi,
    I arrived in HK a month ago and was really shocked at the pollution here. Some days are much better, and it is just like a normal city, but other days, it is impossible to breathe. I had a bad allergy the first week, and since then I check the site:
    http://www.cleartheair.org.hk/
    on a daily basis to know how the air quality is. Feels like checking for the weather forecast. If it is bad, I try to avoid the most polluted areas and not to exercise outside.

    I am hoping to find a place in the South side, it is much better there in relation to pollution from vehicles. However, the pollution that comes from the power plants (coal) is all over the place, but a bit better on the South side.

    We are also planning to have babies and I am really worried. A friend bought a device to measure pollution levels and said that it was pretty much the same whether you're indoors or outdoors. There seems to be only one purifier (as big as an air conditioner at the cost of 5000-8000HK) that can help clear the air indoors.

    Sorry for the doom picture, but these are my first impressions here.

  6. #6
    yaffle is offline Registered User
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    Hi Liz,

    Our daughter is 17 months old and has had no problems so far with the pollution. But we live out in Saikung country park where motor vehicles are restricted and we hope that the trees everywhere will act like a giant pollution-sucking lung. But I commute an hour by car into town for work.

    Because the pollution is visibly bad and only going to get worse, we are moving out of Hong Kong at the end of June. All of the research that has been done over the past few years shows that children here have higher rates of asthma and other respiratory ailments--and that it's due to the pollution. Pollution is insidious; the bad effects build up slowly in your lungs and respiratory system over time. It doesn't matter if you're indoors or outdoors or if you have an air purifier. You are breathing the pollution.

    My friends who work at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, University of Hong Kong, and for the government have advised me that in the near future, the pollution is only going to get worse as China increases its economy. The local HK government is only just starting to talk about doing something about the pollution--but most of our air pollution comes from southern China. China is also talking about pollution and the environment but its systems are rampantly corrupt and it will take time for any environmental measures or environmental consciousness to sink in with the polluters who want to make millions of dollars as quick as they can.

    Any significant change in the pollution laws or environmental practices is probably going to take at least 5+ years to actually have an effect on our air quality--and only if they started these measures NOW and got China's cooperation and enforcement.

  7. #7
    NYC2HK is offline Registered User
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    Confused! How bad is the pollution? have 7 month old baby...

    I am very interested to hear what came of Liz1975's move to HK. My husband and I are are considering an offer in HK (we had actually decided to go and then began to hear pollution horror stories) and we have a 7 month old. We currently live in NYC and in consulting a pediatric pulminologist, were told that HK's pollution was not significantly worse than that of NYC. We are so confused!

    I am definitely opposed to bringing my baby somewhere that will risk her health - is the pollution really so bad? Does anyone know if there are statistics that I can refer to? The HK EPD website makes it seem as though the pollution is mild/moderate. Am I missing something?

    Any input/personal testimonials are welcome! I would love to have the adventure of living in Hong Kong - is the pollution really a deal-breaker?

  8. #8
    Sleuth is offline Registered User
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    The So. Californians said the pollution here is worse than greater LA and American Lung says that LA area is as bad as it gets in the USA.
    The HK EPD is not using the same scale that most of the rest of the world uses and it paints a rosier picture.
    Pollution can be pretty bad, though. Both ground level and upper atmosphere.
    We have a 2 YO and newborn and I wonder the same things. I guess I am choosing to roll the dice and stay here. But it won't be forever, so that's my comfort. Plus I live in the NT and not near a major road so th eground level stuff isn't what it is in the bigger city.

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