The Effect Of Urbanization On Public Health In China And America


Health plays a major role in our everyday lives, and with poor health we tend to look for the main causes. From the health perspective, Americans and the Chinese are greatly affected because of the air, water, and soil pollution caused by the developing manufacturers. Due to urbanization, we have seen a dramatic increase in public health concerns and more people are experiencing severe illnesses. This issue is important because there has been an extremely visible amount of deaths and chronic illnesses that have happened in both the United States as well as China. If people continue to be exposed to smog, unfiltered water, and soil pollution then the public health will progressively continue to drop because of the inhabitable areas that have been affected by urbanization.

Air pollution effects to Americans and Chinese

Air pollution is one of the top contributors to public health concerns due to the fact that power plants and factories, because of urbanization, have been releasing toxic emissions and other poisonous gases that hurt human health. Currently, power plants are the ruling emitters of mercury with about 50 percent emission in the United States alone, along with over 75 percent of acid gases being emitted into the atmosphere. Public health officials are very concerned with this matter because of the development of more respiratory illnesses. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated, “While newer, and a significant percentage of older power plants already control their emissions of mercury, heavy metals, and acid gases, approximately 40 percent of the current EGUs still do not have advanced pollution control equipment.” As a result of urbanization, power plants are producing toxic gases that are harming the Americans here in the United States. “A new study of 60 million Americans – about 97 percent of people age 65 and older in the United States – shows long term exposure to airborne fine particulate matter and ozone increases the risk of premature death.” The article captures the idea that people are dying at a somewhat young age because of urbanization, or development, of power plants here in the United States. We can now relate this to factories in China because the factories emit the same venomous gases as the power plants in the United States. However, there are more factories gathered in the major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, that produce several health damaging gases that it creates a smog over the city. “The adverse health effects of air pollution have generated considerable interest, and studies confirm that exposure to air pollution increases health risks, including adverse cardiovascular, respiratory, pulmonary, and other health-related outcomes.” Lancet and the environmental protection agency both agree that respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses are increasing because of toxins being emitted into the air. Nevertheless, the air is not the only type of pollution concerning public health officials, water pollution is affecting the Americans and Chinese health.

Water pollution effects on Americans and Chinese

In addition to air pollution, we see a tremendous amount of water pollution in our oceans, rivers, and lakes. Urbanization has created industrial buildings that dump an unfavorable quantity of dangerous fluids into our bodies of water. “Every year, unsafe water sickens about 1 billion people. And low-income communities are disproportionately at risk because their homes are often closest to the most polluting industries.” Here in the United States we are seeing underlying water conditions that are affecting the citizens’ health. “Of the assessed ocean shoreline miles, 12% are impaired, primarily because of bacteria, turbidity, and excess nutrients. Primary sources of pollution include urban runoff, storm sewers, and land disposal of wastes.” Runoff from chemical fertilizers being put down on the grass to make them greener is causing health concerns in the United States along with accidental spills from oil plants that runoff into the local water sources. Denchack also says that thousands of people are sickened every year by a disease called legionnaires, which is a form of pneumonia that is from water sources like cooling towers, across the United States from Manhattan to California. Luckily, the United States has the medical technology to care for these diseases, however, several do not have the technological advancements in medicine, for example, China. “A large number of lakes and major rivers are severely polluted; only half of the major rivers and less than a quarter of the major lakes and reservoirs in China are suitable for drinking water after treatment.” China has the largest population in the entire world and only half of their water is suitable for drinking because of severe water pollution. Also, “In addition to the chronic health effects of drinking polluted water, water pollution by industrial disaster could result in dramatic events, such as the explosion of the chemical plant on the upper reaches of the Songhua River.” Not only are the residents at risk for serious health complications, their lives are at state due to the fact that an explosion could happen in their country. China, overall, is heavily induced into water pollution and it is affecting the health of their people greatly. Denchak and Li, X., Song, J., Lin agree that the United States and China both are facing serious health issues, not only with air pollution but also water pollution, however there are also several issues with soil pollution.

Soil pollution effects on Americans and Chinese

Not only have we seen the effects of air and water pollution, soil pollution has an enormous contribution to pollution from urbanization that is affecting public health. “Urban soils are particularly susceptible to significant accumulations of heavy metals from automobile exhaust, coal burning, erosion of metal structures, and refuse incineration (Eric C. Brevik, 2014).” Eric Brevik, who has a PhD in natural sciences, address how urban soils are affecting us, here in the United States, and when heavy metals enter into our bodies health concerns increase. Air pollution leads to water pollution which then leads to soil pollution. All of these types of pollution that are contributing factors to poor health are all related to one another. This affects our fruits vegetables because now the food is contaminated and when injected into a person’s body it leads to health concerns. According to the University of Arizona, small children are at a higher risk of toxic soil ingestion and adults can ingest toxins by eating unwashed produce with toxic soil still attached. Similar to Eric Brevik the University of Arizona is addressing the concerns soil pollution has on citizens of the United States. One main disease that is commonly found is children is nervous system damage due to the presence of lead (Pb) that is often found in polluted soil. Another country who faces hardships of soil pollution is China. Urbanization is rapidly increasing the soil pollution through waste disposal, along with acid deposition from urban air pollution according to Jie Chen, who has a PhD is sciences. As China is rapidly growing their soil is becoming more and more polluted from urbanized sources, such as factory buildings. Brevik, the University of Arizona, and Jie Chen would all state credible information about how soil pollution is affecting our health greatly. Predominantly, air, water, and soil pollution all affect the Americans and the Chinese health substantially weather it is respiratory, cardiovascular, or neurological disease.


As of the current era, we can see how urbanization determines air, water, and soil pollution which affects the public health of the citizens of the United States and China. The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken a stand and has traveled to the United States, China, and other places throughout the world. They are encouraging people to plant more trees, and exercise more. Also, future implications are being made as several manufacturers are getting new technology because of urbanization that help prevent the harsh emissions, poisonous waters, and chemical invested food to prevent health illnesses.

Works Cited

  • Brevik, Eric. “The Influence of Soils on Human Health.” The Nature Education, 2014. Accessed 19 Nov. 2019
  • Chen, Jie. “Rapid Urbanization in China: A Real Challenge to Soil Protection and Food Security.” CATENA, Elsevier, 19 June 2006, Accessed 19 Nov. 2019
  • “Cleaner Power Plants.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 4 Mar. 2019, Accessed 14 Nov. 2019
  • “Common Waterborne Bacteria and Cysts.” Global Hydration, Accessed 17 Nov. 2019
  • Denchak, Melissa. “Water Pollution: Everything You Need to Know.” NRDC, 13 Nov. 2019, Accessed 17 Nov. 2019
  • EPA. “Water Quality Condition in the United States.” Environmental Protection Agency, June 2000. Accessed 14 Nov. 2019
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Study of US Seniors Strengthened Link between Air Pollution and Premature Death” ScienceDaily. 28 june 2017 Accessed 3 Nov. 2019
  • Lancet. 2012 March 3; 379(9818): 843-852. doi:10.1016/SO140-6736(11)61878-3. Accessed 31 Oct. 2019
  • Liu, Wenling, et al. “Health Effects of Air Pollution in China.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, MDPI, 12 July 2018, Accessed 17 Nov. 2019
  • “Soil Pollution Diseases.” Environmental Pollution Centers, Accessed 19 Nov. 2019
  • Song1, Jinchao, et al. “Urbanization and Health in China, Thinking at the National, Local and Individual Levels.” Environmental Health, BioMed Central, 8 Mar. 2016, Accessed 18 Nov. 2019
  • “Toxic Soil and Public Health.” The University of Arizona, 6 Dec. 2018, Accessed 19 Nov. 2019
16 August 2021
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