A Methodology for Cost-Benefit Analysis of Ambient Air Pollution Health Impacts

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Doc #: 34 Title: A Methodology for Cost-Benefit Analysis of Ambient Air Pollution Health Impacts | Document Link
Organization/Author: Bin Jalaludin1,2, Glenn Salkeld3, Geoff Morgan4,5, Tom Beer6, Yasir Bin Nisar1
Type: Report
Year: 2009
Region: International
Observation Type:
Observation Needs:
Document Status: Unsubmitted, 2009/08/31
Parameters: PM10 and PM2.5, ; ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and benzene were evaluated

Also needs: economic data epidemiological data (concentration-response)

(i) assessment of the ambient exposure of the population to an air pollutant based either on existing fixed-site monitoring or on model-based estimates and a target concentration as a comparison; (iv) concentration-response functions from the epidemiological literature that relate ambient concentrations of air pollutants to the selected health effects

Description of Document: A review of the European, United States and Australian Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) literature related to ambient air pollution, followed by a critique of the CBA methodology.

methodology to assess the economic cost of the human health effects of ambient air pollution and identifies and describes in detail the uncertainties, contentious issues and knowledge gaps associated with the CBA methodology. Moreover, the report also makes recommendations based on how to address the uncertainties, contentious issues and knowledge gaps.
Type of user: epidemiologist/analyst - takes raw data and provides decision support and aggregate data

Defines Societal Benefits: Societal benefits are calculated by aggregating individual net benefits across a population. Three basic approaches are used to value the utility gains or losses associated with a policy or a program—human capital approach; revealed preferences; and contingent valuation.

Emisions -> AQ -> Health/Environment Effects -> Monetary Value -> Aggregation across time and space

Issues with data

  • Selecting only one ambient air pollutant as the main pollutant may underestimate the magnitude of the health effects. Adding the health effect estimates of another air pollutant uncorrelated with PM (for example, ozone) can minimise the extent of this underestimation
  • Meta-analytic point estimates rather than estimates from one single study can enhance the value of the available information and deal with heterogeneity between studies.

Uncertainties: The following three factors contributed the greatest uncertainty in this analysis for the key air pollutants, nitrogen dioxide, PM10 and ozone:

  • Weather conditions in the future years;
  • Response of PM concentrations to changes in emissions of precursor gases; and
  • Source apportionment of PM.