What Breathing in 10 Days of Smog Looks like In Your Lungs

Beijing remains one of the most polluted cities on the planet. And while we’re all familiar with images of smog engulfing the city, what does that smog look like when it follows the air into your lungs? Liu Yong, a researcher at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, decided to find out. And what he discovered has Chinese social media choking.

He decided to examine the filters of smog masks worn outside Beijing, home to 1/6 of all the country’s smog mask consumers. He put those filters underneath an electron microscope to magnify them 2,000 times. What he found seems like something from a sci-fi movie, but it’s all too real for the residents of Beijing.

“That was only after 10 days, just imagine what it would look like after 10,000!” wrote one worried Weibo user.

PM2.5 particles of smog seem cozy enough in someone’s lungs to stick around.

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.