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August 18, 2011

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

City's new nasal index may get a clean wipe

THE city's weather authority said yesterday it would consider altering or even abandoning its controversial nasal cleansing index following criticism from local medical experts.

The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said the nasal cleansing index, claimed to be the country's first, was aimed at raising health-care awareness among residents. The bureau said that while it had consulted medical experts before the launch, disagreement from doctors forced them to reconsider the index.

"We'll listen to the criticism and suggestion on the index and launch a study soon to re-evaluate the product," said Wang Yajuan, a media officer of the bureau. "The nasal cleansing index is still on trial and we will consider the suggestions."

The index, launched by the bureau on Sunday, advises local residents to rinse their nasal cavities between one and six times a day depending on weather and environmental conditions to prevent respiratory diseases.

However, the campaign later caused much controversy as many ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists wrote letters to local media. Chi Fanglu, an ENT professor, said the index could be harmful by misleading residents and appealed to the bureau to cancel it.

"Frequent wash or washing in a wrong way may damage the physiological function of the nasal cavity and may even cause other diseases," Chi said yesterday.

Wang said the bureau had consulted doctors before launching the index, and so it was taken by surprise over such objections among medical experts.

"We will consider more opinions to improve the product in the future," Wang said.

She also denied that branding motives were behind the product, as suggested by some people.

Meanwhile, the bureau admitted erring in its weather forecast yesterday, as the mercury was nearly 5 degrees lower than predicted. Shanghai experienced a citywide shower in the morning that affected more than 150 flights and caused the mercury to stay below 30 degrees Celsius.

The forecast called for a high of 35 degrees.

"The clouds were thicker than expected and the sky did not clear up at noon," explained Man Liping, a chief service officer of the bureau. "So it was not as sunny as predicted. There is some deviation in our forecast."

The thunderstorm, starting around 6 am, canceled at least eight flights and delayed 145 others from the city's two airports, authorities said.

The downtown area and the suburban Jiading and Baoshan districts saw the heaviest rainfall, in which the precipitation peaked at 62 millimeters within three hours in Jiading, the bureau said. But no major flooding was reported.

Sections of the Middle Ring Road and other main roads in the city were jammed in the heavy rain. Road congestion continued until around 10:30am, according to traffic authorities.

Forecasters said the thundershowers are likely to end this weekend, and they are predicting a high of 34 degrees today and 36 tomorrow.


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