Designers have taken notice and are creating "stylish" pollution masks, combining fashion with safety.
Available in bright colors and fun patterns, some have even shown up on runways from Paris to Hong Kong.
Vogmask is a company that sells masks on its website for $29 to $35 in China.
"I think absolutely masks are valid as a fashion item," Christopher Dobbing, Vogmask's China director, said in an interview. The line became popular after a photo went viral showing a reality show celebrity and his family wearing Vogmasks.
Vogmask began fashioning masks to cater to people battling dust during Nevada's Burning Man festival; its products are made from microfiber and the company says they filter out 99% of hazardous particles if they fit properly.