Health Scare of the week: Olympic choke-a-thon
It’s perfectly safe to exercise in the polluted air of Beijing, the site of the upcoming Olympic Games, say International Olympic Commission officials. It’s perfectly safe, that is, as long as you don’t have to breathe deeply for more than an hour. “They have scientifically proved there is no risk for the wide majority of sports,” IOC chief inspector Hein Verbruggen tells Nature.com. But “for endurance events that include minimum one-hour continuous physical efforts at high level—urban road cycling, mountain biking, marathon running, marathon swimming, the triathlon, and road walking—the IOC Medical Commission’s findings indicated that there may be some risk.” Beijing’s air is among the worst in the world, due to a lack of pollution-control laws, heavy industrial activity, and automobiles. Should pollution be particularly bad at any time during the Games, the IOC said, it may delay events. The reassurances haven’t satisfied many of the athletes. “My main fear,” says U.S. marathon runner Brian Sell, “is that I go run this marathon and develop some long-term complication and it hampers me in future marathons.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
MOST POPULAR ON THE WEEK
- What is driving the increasingly weird behavior of the polar jet stream?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Christians have no moral rationale for spanking their children
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 10 things you need to know today: September 23, 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not.
- 4 simple steaks you can cook in a pan
Subscribe to the Week