Yes this last year has been bad, in the winter months especially. It is not possible to have an outside lifestyle during bad days/ weeks. Even school’s don’t let the children outside.
Why don’t you check out the PM2.5 history to get some perspective.
The water you have to filter, the fruit and veggies you have to wash. Where we live even the trees/bushes need to be regularly hosed down due to the dirt in the air. Have your car washed one day and the next day it looks like you have been parked next to a concrete construction site.
It seems that the effects from exposure to the pollution in Shanghai are not heavily researched or known, so we don’t know what the long term effects are, but I can tell you that when I go outside on bad days I get stinging eyes, bad cough, blocked sinuses.
A lot of people are installing their own air purifiers at home (you can see what is coming out of the air in the filers and it is not nice)and some schools have air purifiers in the classrooms. I do think it is something you need to take seriously.
But it is best to come over now and do your own investigation before you bring your family over to see if this is something you are willing accommodate into your lifestyle.