Ban Open Door Air Conditioning -
Contain Thermal Shock. Control Asthma & Allergy Trigger.

Killer Heat
Air Pollution
Sick from Thermal Shock
Irresponsible Energy Use
Greenhouse Gases
Sick from Cold
Worse to Come
Ban it!
In the summer, a Hong Kong pedestrian can be exposed to cold air conditioning from open store fronts, hot humid ambient air and hot bus waste heat from road-side bus stops in the span of a few seconds.

Open store fronts transforms the sidewalk into distinct zones of temperature and humidity. A person walking along this sidewalk, will experience sudden and significant changes every time he/she cross an open store front. For a city where summer mean temperatures are above 27°C (80.6°F) with humidity at 80%, that is dramatic.

In addition, it can suddenly get even hotter hot when a bus pulls up or drives by. Hong Kong double decker buses blow waste heat at up to 36°C at the sidewalk at around head level.

Beyond discomfort, sudden changes in temperature and humidity is a trigger for serious conditions such as asthma, allergies and can make you more vulnerable to germs.

A University of Michigan study found that an ambient temperature change of 5.6C (10F) or humidity change of 10% leads to an increase in emergency room admissions of children due to asthma or allergy symptoms, such as congestion, headaches and dizziness. According to the National Association of School Nurses in the United States, asthma can be triggered by ambient temperature changes "such as going out into cold air, or coming in from the heat into cool air."

In a 2006 study on excessive air conditioning in Hong Kong buses, Dr Alvin Chan Yee-shing, a Medical Council and Hong Kong Medical Association council member, advises that going from a hot to cold environment can weaken your immune system and make it easier to get sick. "A big temperature change could cause a sudden contraction of blood vessels and affect blood pressure." "It weakens their immune system and makes it easy to catch colds."

Asthma and allergies are widespread, expensive, severe and lethal, all over the world.

In Hong Kong, 1 in 10 children suffer from asthma and up to 40% have an allergy. According to Dr Stephen Hui, Specialist in Paediatrics for Matilda International Hospital, this figure has been increasing for 10 years. details here. According to a study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the prevalence rates for asthma and respiratory symptoms such as wheezing has increased by 71% and 255% respectively for the 5 years since 1992 in Hong Kong school children. Likewise, the severity of their symptoms has also worsened.

This sidewalk in Mong Kok, Hong Kong is more narrow and is more typical. Sudden changes in temperature and humidity is nearly impossible to avoid for a pedestrian.

A Hong Kong double decker bus has the exhaust grills at the back end. It's large size gives an idea how much heat the diesel engine generates. Strangely, the exhaust is directed at the sidewalk as can be seen in this photo. When pulling into or out of a bus stop, this blows exhaust heat at pedestrians, sometimes only inches away.

In the University of Michigan study, there were 25,000 emergency room referrals in the Detroit area alone in 2004-2005. They also note that in the United States, 9 million children suffer from asthma and 50 million adults (roughly 17% of the population) endure allergy symptoms. The National Association of School Nurses report:, "in the United States, costs related to asthma were at least $12.7 billion in 2000 (Public Health Policy Advisory Board, 2002). Direct costs include medical expenditures associated with hospitalizations, doctors’ visits, and medications. Each year two million people are treated in emergency rooms and approximately 500,000 are hospitalized for their asthma. In 1998, children 0-17 years had 5.8 million visits to doctor’s’ offices and hospital outpatient departments (Public Health Policy Advisory Board, 2002)"

By deliberately allowing cold air to escape into public, these merchants are creating a serious health risk and imposing it on the local population.

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