Safer Growth: How advanced science can help safeguard China’s people and environment

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Visit http://www.DuPont.com/FutureChina to learn more about how DuPont collaborates with partners in China to solve challenges related to rapid urbanization. …

Visit http://www.DuPont.com/FutureChina to learn more about how DuPont collaborates with partners in China to solve challenges related to rapid urbanization.

If current trends in China hold, nearly one billion people will live in cities by 2030, with an urban economy generating as much as 95% of the national economic output. Rapid urbanization has helped lift the living standards of millions of Chinese people, but it is also putting significant pressure on infrastructure, workplace safety, and the natural environment.

Over the years, DuPont has helped develop technology and expertise that can help sustain a rapid pace of economic growth and urbanization in China without sacrificing public safety.

According to DuPont, the key elements of a sound protection strategy for China include ensuring a safe and sustainable growth of infrastructure, improving overall worker safety culture, protecting the natural environment, and promoting public safety.

This white paper was created by Fortune Industry Perspectives and DuPont. It is the third in a series showcasing sustainable development thought leadership, which will help inform the discussions at the 2013 Fortune Global Forum, June 6–8, 2013, in Chengdu, China.

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  • 1. SafeRGrowthHow advanced science can help SafeguardChina’s people and environmentIN Partnership with:
  • 2. 1Table of ContentsIntroduction Page 3China’s 4Protection Challenges Page 9A Vision for the Future Page 20Conclusion Page 32This white paper was created by Fortune IndustryPerspectives and DuPont. It is the third of a seriesshowcasing sustainable development thoughtleadership, which will help inform the discussionsat the 2013 Fortune Global Forum, June 6-8, 2013, in Chengdu, China. Formore information on sustainable development in China, please visit www.DuPont.com/FortuneGlobalForum.proud to sponsor theCover photograph: he dongping / imaginechina
  • 3. 132IntroductionWang Yong leadsan emergency repairteam at the Tarimoilfield in Xinjiang prov-ince, China. He works for CNPC, alarge state-owned energy company.Part of Wang’s job is to ensure thathe and his colleagues manage physi-cal risk and stay safe at work.“Before every pipeline repair job,we communicate very thoroughlywith every worker, including potentialrisks involved and related risk-controlprocedures,” says Wang. “Weeducate them on how to preventand control risks, to make sure allworkers understand how they canprotect themselves. This helps themfeel safer at work.”In the past three years, Wanghas overseen about 1,000 oilfieldrepair jobs, with no serious accidentsto report. That’s a good record byany standard. It speaks to China’semerging culture of industrial andpublic safety, an integral part of thenational development vision thatPresident Xi Jinping calls the ChinaDream.China has undergone three wavesof transformation in the modern era.First there was the inception of thePeople’s Republic in 1949, followedby the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, followed by the great economicopening that began under DengXiaoping in 1978. This journey contin-ues today with China’s new wave ofurbanization.In China, economic growth andurbanization are two sides of thesame coin. China’s GDP is expectedto quintuple between now and 2050according to the IMF. By that time,the urban economy could generatemore than 90% of China’s economicoutput, up from 75% in 2009. Theurbanization rate hit 49.2% in 2010and is projected to reach 65.4% by2025, according to United Nationsresearch. By 2030, if current trendshold, around 1 billion Chinese will livein cities. McKinsey projects that by2025, 13 of the world’s 25 fastest-growing cities will be in mainlandChina. Between 2007 and 2025, thecountry’s top 225 cities could gener-ate 30% of global economic growth.This rapid urbanization requiresa massive expansion of China’sinfrastructure. Five billion squaremeters of road will be paved be-tween now and 2030. Some 170mass transit systems could be built,
  • 4. along with 3.7 billion square metersof new office space in 5 million newbuildings, of which 50,000 could beskyscrapers. That’s the equivalent ofconstructing 10 New York Cities.Rapid urbanization has helped liftthe living standards of millions of Chi-nese, but it is also putting significantpressure on infrastructure, workplacesafety, and the natural environment.In recent years, environmental issueshave emerged as a leading causeof popular discontent in China. Lastyear, for example, authorities insouthern Sichuan province canceledthe planned construction of a$1.6 billion copper smelting facilityin response to public concern aboutthe project’s environmental impact.While these are all serious chal-lenges, they are hardly unique toChina. Over the years, DuPont andother multinational companies havedeveloped technology and exper-tise that can help China maintaina rapid pace of urbanization andeconomic growth without sacrificingpublic health and safety. At the TarimOilfield, for example,consultants from Du-Pont Sustainable Solu-tions collaborated withCNPC to develop thesafety-training regimethat has helped WangYong achieve a perfectsafety record. “Many ofour consultants haveexperience in opera-tions, and we’re ableto match that with ourclients’ internal struc-ture and operations,”says Jin Shouzhen, thelead consultant on theTarim project. “This is54BEIJING15.018.119.623.0TIANJIN8.59.78.910.3WUHAN9.711.0CHONGQING10.212.3SHENZHEN10.512.4GUANGZHOU2010 2015IN MILLIONS OF PEOPLESHANGHAILARGEST CITIES IN CHINASource: UN “World Urbanization Prospects”, 2011, released April 2012, Urban AgglomerationsIf current trends hold, around 1billionChinese will live in cities by 2030 and 13of the world’s 25 fastest-growingcities will be in mainland China by 2025.maremagnum/theimagebank/gettyimages
  • 5. based on actual transfer of experi-ences and practice, not just theoreti-cal concepts.”Proprietary DuPont materi-als such as Nomex®and Tyvek®are used in safety gear that helpsprotect Chinese firefighters andmedical workers. In the construc-tion industry, DuPont resins andglass interlayers help protect thestructural integrity of Chinese roads,bridges, and office buildings. Infactories across China, hazardoussmokestack emissions are reducedwith help from DuPont scrubbingsystems and fiber bed mist elimina-tors. The company also providesadvanced food testing technologythat helps safeguard the integrity ofChina’s food chain.Safety has always been importantto DuPont. “We started out as anexplosives manufacturer,” says TonySu, president of DuPont GreaterChina. “We gained valuable experi-ences and learned tough lessons thehard way. Many of our products aredesigned to ensure people’s safetyand security.”According to DuPont, the key ele-ments of a sound protection strategyfor China include making sure thatthe country’s massive infrastructurebuildout proceeds safely and sus-tainably, creating safer work environ-ments, protecting the natural environ-ment, and promoting public safety.This paper surveys China’s four mainprotection challenges and presentsscientific and technological solutionsthat are helping to address them.6rapid urbanization requires a massiveexpansion of China’s infrastructure.Five billion square meters of road willbe paved between nowand 2030.URBAN VS. NONURBANPOPULATIONSource: UN “World Urbanization Prospects” 2011’90 ’95 ’00 ’05 ’10 ’15 ’20 ’25 ’301.41.21.00.80.60.40.20BILLIONS OF PEOPLEURBAN POPULATIONNONURBAN POPULATION7
  • 6. 9China’s 4ProtectionChallengesNo.1BuildingSafeInfrastructureChina faces significant challenges increating infrastructure to support itsrapidly growing urban population.The country currently spends 11.4%of its annual GDP on construction,transportation, and communica-tions infrastructure, according to theAsian Development Bank. As partof a $630 billion economic stimulusprogram launched in an effort toboost economic growth after theglobal financial crisis of 2008-09,the government announced a widerange of new urban infrastructureprojects across the country, includ-ing new roads and bridges, subwaysystems, and high-speed rail linksbetween major cities such as Bei-jing and Shanghai.China’s infrastructure buildouthas raised safety concerns. InMarch 2012, for example, part of ahigh-speed rail line being construct-ed between the Yangtze River citiesof Wuhan and Yichang collapsedafter heavy rain. Between July 21and Aug. 21, 2012, there were 99road cave-ins in Beijing alone, ac-cording to press reports. Bridgesare another area of concern. Bythe end of 2011 there were nearly689,000 bridges across China,some 58,000 of which were consid-ered large or ultralarge—a categorythat accounts for 51.8% of the totallength of China’s bridges, accord-ing to a report in the state-ownedChina Daily newspaper. At least 37bridges collapsed across the coun-try from 2007 to 2012.“With some bridges undergoinglong-term, overburdened operation,we have been witnessing a highincidence of bridge accidents in thecountry,” the Ministry of Communi-cations said in a statement. Recentbridge accidents include the rampof the $300 million YangmingtanBridge in Harbin, which had beenin use for less than a year whenit collapsed on August 24 of lastyear, taking four trucks with it. Theaccident killed three people andinjured five.In response, the Chinese gov-ernment is working hard to tightenbuilding codes and repair existing
  • 7. 1110infrastructure across the country.More than 21,600 hazardous bridgeswere renovated between 2001 and2012 at a total cost of nearly 44billion yuan ($7.05 billion), accordingto the Ministry of Communications.At a 2010 forum on green buildingconstruction, Deputy ConstructionMinister Qiu Baoxing noted thatevery year China uses up to 40%of the world’s cement and steel toerect new buildings with a total areaof 2 billion square meters. Thesebuildings, however, have an averageuseful life of only 25 to 30 years. Bycontrast, U.S. commercial buildingsare expected to stand for 70 to 75years, according to the U.S. Depart-ment of Energy.In addition to the obvious safetybenefits of erecting more durablestructures, it’s in China’s economicinterest to extend the useful lives ofbuildings so that they can gener-ate more revenue before they mustbe refurbished or torn down. As aresult, the government and con-struction industry have increasinglybeen adopting international buildingcodes and standards, and tighten-ing enforcement of these standardsnationwide.No.2creatingSaferWorkplacesThe government has passed a num-ber of new workplace safety laws inrecent years, notably the 2002 Lawof the People’s Republic of China onWork Safety. Workplace accidentshave declined significantly in recentyears, according to Wei Lijun, as-sociate dean of the China Academyof Safety Science and Technology.Wei helped draft China’s first nationalplan for production safety, whichwas included in the 11th Five-YearPlan (2006-10). He says accidentalworkplace deaths declined by nearlyhalf (49.4%) between 2002 and 2010,a drop that he attributes to strongersafety regulations, enhanced emer-gency response capabilities, anda general rise in safety conscious-ness among the general population.“‘Safety first, prevention crucial’ hasbecome a policy embedded intopeople’s hearts,” says Wei.The government has set aggres-sive workplace safety targets for theEach year, China uses up to 40%of the world’s cement and steelto erect a total of 2 billionsquare meters in new buildings.
  • 8. 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), notablya 15% drop in accidental deathsby 2015. However, China still facessignificant challenges in protectingthe health and safety of its large andgrowing industrial workforce. Onemajor issue is that heavy manufac-turing facilities continue to be locatedin densely populated urban areas.China’s cities have suffered frequentindustrial accidents in recent years,such as a 2010 gas explosion andchemical leak that killed numerouspeople and injured scores of othersoutside a plastics factory in the cityof Nanjing. Last fall, several hundredemployees of the Sunrex factory inSuzhou, the world’s biggest supplierof computer mice and keyboards,were treated for chest tightness ordistress, dizziness, or liver damageafter maintenance workers mistak-enly connected pipes that recycledpaint to the drinking water supplysystem months earlier, according tonews reports.Although much work remainsto be done, government statisticsshow an overall decline in workplaceaccidents in recent years. In 2012the death toll from work accidentsamounted to 71,983 people, a year-1312tehengkoon/afp/gettyimages
  • 9. on-year decrease of 4.7%. The deathtoll from work accidents for every100 million yuan of GDP was 0.142people, a decline of 17.9%. Workaccidents in industrial, mining, andcommercial enterprises caused 1.64deaths for every 100,000 employees,down 12.8%. And the death toll forproducing 1 million tons of coal incoal mines was 0.374 people, down33.7% year-on-year.“We must treat productionsafety according to the law andtreat enterprises according to thelaw,” says Shi Shaohua, an expert inproduction safety at the China LawSociety. Shi notes that productionsafety is ultimately a social issue,because growth and modernizationrequire a harmonious and stablesocial environment. “If workplacesare unsafe and workers die, familiesdisintegrate,” he says. “Let’s say ayoung man dies in an accident, leav-ing his child and wife behind. Even ifthere’s financial compensation it willnot last a lifetime, leaving behind aseries of family problems and con-flicts. Through accumulation, thesefamily problems become societalproblems.”No.3protectingthe naturalenvironmentIn recent years, China has made am-bitious green tech investments andimplemented successful efforts tocurb energy consumption per capita.The government has also strength-ened environmental regulations andcanceled some subsidies to pollutingindustries such as coal extraction.In a 2011 Gallup poll, 57% of Chi-nese adults surveyed said protectingthe environment should take priorityover economic growth. Many pol-luting industries, however, still haveaccess to inexpensive land, water,electricity, oil, and bank loans. Mostcities in China are ringed with heavyindustry, metal smelters, and coal-fired power plants, all highly pollutingbut critical to maintaining economicgrowth. Expanding car ownership,heavy traffic, and low-grade gasolineare also major contributors to theheavy smog that frequently blanketsmost Chinese cities.China’s environmental challenges1514RossbrownPhotographer
  • 10. 16 17include air and water pollution,desertification, climate change,and threats to biodiversity. Froman urban security perspective, airand water quality are probably themost salient issues. According tothe World Bank, 16 of the world’s 20cities with the worst air quality are inChina. The country also faces watersupply shortages and pollution ofexisting supplies.China’s existing water supplysystem suffers leakage rates ofaround 50%, compared with 20%to 40% in many European countriesand less than 7% in Denmark, aworld leader in water managementtechnology, according to a recentChina Daily article. China is respond-ing to these challenges by rapidlybuilding out water infrastructure. In2011, the government announcedthat it would invest 4 trillion yuan tobuild water resource facilities overthe next decade, with a focus onsewage treatment, water efficiency,and groundwater protection.No.4promotingpublicsafetyThe rapid growth of China’s citieshas created a broad range of publicsafety challenges. Growing urbandensity and still-inadequate build-ing codes put pressure on emer-gency response systems of all kinds,including firefighting, police, emer-gency medicine, and food safetyinspection.China also has a long historyof large-scale natural disasters,including floods, earthquakes, andtyphoons. Recent examples includethe Sichuan earthquake of 2008,which killed more than 69,000 peo-ple and left at least 4.8 million home-less, according to government fig-ures. The Chinese government hashad emergency response systems inplace ever since the inception of thePeople’s Republic in 1949, accordingto Deng Yunfeng, a senior research-er with the Emergency ManagementCenter at the Chinese Academy ofGovernance. In the early years, how-In a 2011 Gallup poll, 57%of Chinese saidprotecting the environment should takepriority over economic growth.teh eng koon / afp / getty images
  • 11. 19ever, these procedures concentratedon helping individual work unitsdeal with threats to their safety. The2003 SARS epidemic stimulated thecreation of a more comprehensivenational system. In the past decadethe government has passed numer-ous safety laws and also created anEmergency Response Agency thatreports directly to the State Council.Its job is to coordinate emergencyresponse policies nationwide.The Emergency ResponseAgency was key to helping Chinarespond to the 2008 Sichuan earth-quake. “Our central governmentrealized how important coordinationand teamwork were when facingcomplicated national crises,” saysDeng. Since then the agency hascoordinated effective national re-sponses to heavy winter snowstormsand industrial accidents, as wellas national emergencies involvingtainted food and milk. In the first halfof 2013 the agency helped mobilizerelief workers after another earth-quake in Sichuan, and it also workedwith public health authorities acrossthe country to combat the latestoutbreak of avian flu.18chinaphotos/gettyimages
  • 12. Targeted scientific interventions offerthe best hope of reconciling China’seconomic growth imperatives withthe need to provide safe public infra-structure, environmental protection,safe workplaces, and quality publichealth in the country’s burgeoningcities. Here are some of the initia-tives that the Chinese government,local companies, and multinationals,including DuPont, have undertakenacross these sectors:Faster, safertrainsChina has invested considerablemoney and prestige in its high-speedrail network, which currently runs theworld’s fastest trains. In recent years,high-speed trains have dramaticallycut travel times between major Chi-nese cities, according to Ji Jialun, aprofessor at Beijing Jiaotong Univer-sity who also serves as secretary ofthe Transportation Committee of theChina Railway Society. Today, China’shigh-speed trains travel at speedsup to 350 kph. As a result, a train tripfrom Beijing to Shanghai now takesabout five hours, down from 30 hoursin the 1960s.“High speed means high risk,”says Ji. “The faster the speed, themore serious the consequences ofan accident.” As a result, safety im-provement has emerged as a centralpriority for the Chinese rail industry.The new motorized high-speed traincars are equipped with elaboratesensor technology. If a passengersmokes on the train, for example,the smoke signal will notify the car,causing it to slow down and stop au-tomatically to prevent a possible fireon the train. Other systems monitorwheel tracking, stability, and seismicactivity. Trains are programmed toslow down and stop in the event ofan earthquake. “During transport,if something is not suitable, or notwithin standard, it will notify authori-ties,” says Ji.Numerous international compa-nies are involved in China’s efforts toupgrade its nationwide rail network.In 2011, for example, GE Transporta-tion Systems signed a $1.4 billiondeal with China’s Ministry of Railwaysto provide locomotives, service sup-port, and railway signaling systems.DuPont currently provides Nomex®insulating paper that China SouthernRail (CSR) uses to protect the trac-tion transformers on its high-speed2120Today, China’s High-speed trains travelat speeds up to 350kph.A Vision forthe Future
  • 13. 23locomotives. “We chose Nomex®because we value its thermal stabilityand its high mechanical, electrical,and environmental performance,”says Cheng Hongsheng, managerof CSR’s Insulation R&D Center.“These features allow us to designa much smaller traction transformerand maximize its performance andefficiency.”The traction transformer deliversgrid energy to the train’s trac-tion motor. It must transfer largepower loads reliably while movingrapidly and withstanding frequentimpacts, all while traveling throughan external environment where tem-peratures can range from -40° C to+40° C within a single day’s travel.“Under these circumstances, if ourtransformer does not have reliabledesign, proper safety features, andmaterial security, then it will easilybe impacted by the energy grid,”says Cheng.Better roadsand buildingsAs high-density communities springup all over China, the country facessignificant challenges in buildingsafe public infrastructure to accom-modate soaring urban populations.Here DuPont is helping by providingadvanced building materials usedto construct safer and more durablestructures. DuPont™Elvaloy®, forexample, is a range of proprietaryresins used in building new, moredurable roadways throughoutChina, protecting them againstcracking and breakages. UsingElvaloy® RET, contractors can laydown modified asphalt that with-stands extremes of heat and coldfor longer-lasting roads. Elvaloy®RET is supplied asfree-flowing pellets that melt intohot asphalt to create a permanentlymodified asphaltic (bitumen) binder.An RET-modified asphalt remainseasy to use but delivers improvedlong-term resilience and climateresistance. Unlike elastomeric ad-ditives that are merely mixed orsuspended in asphalt, RET locksitself in during a fluid-stage reaction.The enhanced binder stays homog-enous, with good aggregate coatingand adhesion performance.DuPont™SentryGlas®is a poly-mer interlayer used to strengthenbuilding glass. Manufactured byDuPont and sold as an interlayer to22More than 21,600hazardous bridgeswere renovated between 2001 and 2012 ata total cost of nearly 44 billion yuan.xucongjun/Imaginechinaa
  • 14. 25Chinese glassmakers, SentryGlas®helps create glass that protectsagainst bigger storms, larger im-pacts, and heavier loads. It helpsarchitects create beautiful, durablefeatures like glass balustrades instadiums, glass-bottom swimmingpools, and typhoon-resistant glassfor office buildings in coastal cities.Many newer buildings in Chinesecities now incorporate SentryGlas®interlayers in their construction.CleanerManufacturingChina emits more greenhouse gasesthan any other country, due in largepart to its heavy reliance on coal-fired power generation plants. Chinaderives 70% of its primary energyfrom coal, and this dependence isexpected to continue well into the fu-ture, according to a recent report bythe World Resources Institute. Envi-ronmental degradation and resourcedepletion have taken a heavy toll onthe Chinese economy in recent years,with the total cost of air pollution,water pollution, and soil degradationapproaching 10% of annual GDP, ac-cording to joint research by the WorldBank and the Chinese government.Although overall air pollution levelshave been on a steady downwardpath, the cost of treating pollution-related illnesses has climbed as theurban population grows and the over-all population ages.Numerous multinational compa-nies are currently helping to improvethe environmental performance ofChinese manufacturing facilities. Inlate 2012, for example, Dow Corn-ing completed an expansion at itsShanghai Songjiang site, markingone of the largest single investmentsin China’s paper release industryto date. By enabling local manu-facturers to incorporate solventlesssilicone release coating products intotheir production processes, it allowsthem to reduce their environmentalimpact and comply with environmen-tal regulations, according to a DowCorning press release.As a global science company,DuPont has developed advancedtechnology to help mitigate toxicemissions from manufacturingfacilities. Today, numerous Chinesefactories and oil refineries use Du-Pont Clean Technologies, includingBELCO®, MECS®, STRATCO®, andIsoTherming®, to produce cleaner24Today, DuPont™ BELCO® scrubbingtechnologies are used to reduce emissionsin oil refining and petrochemical plants.The total cost of air pollution,water pollution, and soil degradationapproaches 10%of China’s annual GDP.bloomberg via getty images
  • 15. fuels, reduce harmful emissions, andprovide solutions that help protectpeople and the environment in a vastarray of industries.BELCO®scrubbing technologies,for example, are used to reduceparticulate, sulfur oxide (SOx), andnitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in oilrefining and petrochemical plants.These technologies were origi-nally designed for use under highlydemanding conditions in refineries,which generally require three to fouryears of continuous operation withno shutdowns.BELCO®scrubbers are primarilyused in fluidized catalytic crackingunits (FCCU), the core unit in anyrefinery. They are also widely used inreducing emissions from boilers andheaters. The flue gas stream fromFCCUs, boilers, and heaters containsSOx, NOx, and particulates, three ofthe primary contributors to air pollu-tion globally and in China. BELCO®scrubbers remove these pollutantsfrom the flue gas stream using analkaline solution that reacts with andneutralizes the SOx and NOx.The market for so-called flue gasdesulfurization (FGD) technology isgrowing rapidly. There are cur-rently between 100 and 110 catalyticcracking units in Chinese refineries,according to DuPont estimates, allof which need FGD facilities. DuPontsupplies BELCO®scrubbers to majorChinese petrochemical refiners,including PetroChina, Sinopec, andCNOOC. Outside of China, BELCO®scrubbers have recently been ad-opted in the marine industry, whereships with oil-fueled engines andboilers use them to eliminate harmfulemissions in order to comply withvarying environmental regulations inthe ports where they call.Chinese manufacturing facilitiesare also heavy producers of so-called mist emissions, which containvery fine particulates such as ammo-nium nitrate, nitric acid, phosphoricacid, sulfuric acid, and wet chlorine.Mist particulates are difficult toremove because of their very smallsize: less than three micrometers,versus 50 to 80 micrometers for theparticulates in cigarette smoke.There are various technologiesavailable to remove mist from factoryemissions, including wet electrostaticprecipitators (WESPs), which useelectricity to produce static chargesthat capture the mist. While effec-2726tive, WESPs are expensive and canbe maintenance-intensive. MECS®Brink®Mist Eliminators, supplied byDuPont, are an equally effective andfar less costly solution that capturesthe mist in fiber filters. MECS®Brink®Fiber Bed Mist Eliminators werecreated specifically for submicronmist collection. Mist particles contactand collect on individual fibers in theBrink®Fiber Bed, then coalesce toform larger liquid droplets that drainfrom the downstream face of thefiber by gravity. There are no movingparts. Depending on the applica-tion, the Brink®Fiber Bed can havea life span of 10 to 15 years, or evenlonger in some cases.DuPont is the only companythat currently supplies Brink®MistEliminators, which were the veryfirst fiber beds ever used in industry.They have been deployed in Chinafor more than 30 years.Helping FirstRespondersLin Ruihuang is a firefighter attachedto the Second Squadron of the Spe-cial Police Unit in Shenzhen, a city inGuangdong province. Lin joined theChinese army in 2003. He decidedto become a firefighter after hear-ing about how courageous Chinesefirefighters had helped the victims ofnatural disasters across the country,and about how American firefight-ers had helped victims of the 9/11attacks. “That’s when I realized thatfirefighters save lives as well as putout fires,” he says.Over the past few years Lin hasfought fires all over Shenzhen aswell as in neighboring regions. Hiscqwb/IMAGINECHINA
  • 16. 29team takes about 45 seconds togear up for a daytime emergencycall. At night they need about oneminute to don heavy fireproof suits,grab their walkie-talkies and otheremergency gear, and climb into thetruck. Lin has been in many danger-ous situations, notably a 2005 gasline explosion on Shennan Boule-vard, across from the Shanghai Hotelin Shenzhen. The gas pipe blew upwhile Lin and his colleagues werebringing water to the scene, injuringseveral bystanders.In those days Lin and his teamwore an older-model firefighting suitthat let in a lot more heat. In about2010 his squadron was equippedwith a heavier suit made of DuPont™Nomex®, the same fire-resistant ma-terial used to insulate traction trans-formers on CSR’s high-speed trains.DuPont™Nomex®is a unique aramidtechnology, that offers protectionagainst heat and provides flame-re-sistance. Invented in 1962, Nomex®was commercialized between 1965and 1967, according to Li Xuedong,applications research manager ofDuPont Protection Technology forDuPont Asia.DuPont also provides Nomex®foruse in flame-resistant suits for racecar drivers. In one race a car caughtfire. Because the driver was wearingone of these suits, he walked outof the burning car unharmed. Thatscene was broadcast on networktelevision throughout the U.S. andhelped create a much larger marketfor Nomex®. In addition to firefight-ing, Nomex®is used today in manyapplications where fire resistanceis a priority, such as laminate floorsand cabin walls in airplanes.Li likes his job. “I feel very proudthat our products help protect fire-fighters, whose jobs are to protectthe public,” he says. “Wheneverthere’s an accident, they immediatelyrush to the scene to save lives andrescue properties. Every day whenI go to work, I think how meaningfulmy job is for common people, whichmakes me very happy.”DuPont™Nomex®fiber helpsmanufacturers design firefightingsuits to protect wearers againsthazards such as flash fire, poolfire, and molten metal splash. Thematerial won’t start decomposinguntil 400º C. It is stable for long-termflame resistance and thermal insula-tion at temperatures below 210º C.28“Nomex®is unique in that it doesn’tburn and it doesn’t melt,” saysTucker Norton, Asia Pacific technol-ogy leader for DuPont ProtectionTechnologies. “So it actually givesyou a fighting chance to get out of afire alive.”Local manufacturer U.protecsupplies the Shenzhen fire depart-ment with suits made with Nomex®.U.protec is responsible for the de-sign, manufacture, and quality controlof the garments, as well as market-ing. The company was founded in2000, when the Ministry of ForeignTrade and Economic Cooperationpassed new regulations requiringworkers in 256 employment catego-ries across six industries to wear fire-retardant garments on the job.Today the company produces awide range of protective garments inits 10,000-square-meter manufactur-ing facility in Shenzhen, accordingto U.protec general manager WuYing. “Our mandate is to providetechnologically advanced protectiongarments for safety professionals,”she says. At peak capacity, Wu’splant can turn out 600,000 protec-tive garments and 200,000 firefight-ing garments a year.U.protec and DuPont launchedtheir relationship in 2006, whenDuPont was looking to promotegarments made of Nomex®in China.While petrochemical companies inChina had been using fire-retardantsuits made of Nomex®for manyyears, DuPont had not yet penetratedthe firefighting and general publicsafety markets. “Before 2001, our cli-ents were mostly firefighters in foreigncountries because there was littledemand for high-quality firefightinggarments in China at the time,” Wusays. “Today our central governmentis paying more attention to the safetyof firefighters, so demand for qualityfirefighting garments is increasing.”After 40 years of development,DuPont has amassed a wealth ofdata on how Nomex®performs infirefighting applications. In the lab, forexample, DuPont researchers applyprecisely calibrated fire jets to theNomex®Thermo-Man ®, a manne-quin dressed in Nomex®firefightinggarments. “With our data analysiswe can actually predict whether aperson will get burned under certaincircumstances wearing our garmentsversus those of our competitors,”says Norton.Firefighting suits made withDuPont™ Nomex®won’t startdecomposing until400°C.yiyang/IMAGINECHINA
  • 17. 31As China becomes a more urban-ized, densely populated society, fireand other emergency challengeswill inevitably affect more people.Nowadays Lin’s squadron respondsto five or six fire emergencies aweek around Shenzhen. He feelsmuch safer in his new uniform. “Ifour clothing and equipment aren’twell designed, we can’t protectourselves, which means we can’tprotect others,” he says.China’s new safety culture isemerging in many sectors whereworkers experience daily risk associ-ated with their jobs. For example,Chinese medical workers wearhazmat suits made from DuPont™Tyvek®, which provides an imper-meable barrier against dangerousparticles. During the SARS epidemicof 2003, the government deployedthousands of medical workerswearing disposable white Tyvek®suits donated by DuPont. And manyChinese law enforcement personnelnow wear helmets and vests madefrom DuPont™ Kevlar®, an aramidfiber that is five times stronger thansteel on an equal weight basis. InChina’s auto industry, many workerswear safety gloves made of DuPont™Kevlar®that allow them to handlesharp-edged metal componentswithout worrying about slashingtheir hands.Kevlar®has many applicationsbeyond human safety. Today itreinforces data transmission cableshung underneath China’s vast elec-tric power grid, protecting againstbreakage and thus reducing datatransmission outages. Several Chi-nese auto manufacturers use Kevlar®to make transmission belts and othercomponents where strength anddurability are vital. These applica-tions illustrate the DuPont company’sbroad understanding of protection.“It’s not just protecting people andthe environment,” says Norton. “It’salso about protecting the criticalsystems that surround us each andevery day.”30As China becomes a more urbanizedsociety, fire and other emergencychallenges will inevitablyaffect more people.mikeclarke/afp/gettyimages
  • 18. Protection is a journey, not a destina-tion. As high-density communitiesspring up all over China, the countryfaces huge challenges in buildingsafe public infrastructure to accom-modate soaring urban populations.China must also maintain the integ-rity of the food chain and continueto take steps to improve the qualityof its air and water. Finally, China’sworkers deserve every effort thattheir employers and the governmentcan make to improve workplacesafety, so that the men and womenwho are creating China’s growth canreap the rewards of their hard work.None of this will be easy. Butif the government and the privatesector work together, there is amplereason for hope that one of the greateconomic and social transforma-tions in history can be accomplishedwith minimal impact on humanhealth, worker safety, and the naturalenvironment.DuPont is ready to do its part.“For the past two centuries, DuPonthas been applying cutting-edge sci-ence to make the world a safer andbetter place,” says company chairand CEO Ellen Kullman. “We lookforward to providing the technolo-gies that will help safeguard Chinesehealth, happiness, and prosperity incoming years.”32ConclusionView the video ofDuPont’s contribution tothe future of protectionin China.
  • 19. IN Partnership with: