Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25-29, 2009: Oral Presentations
*National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, Netherlands; and †Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) at Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the organizations of Epidemiology. Affliate Societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.
Background and Objective:
Environmental pollutants can have direct and indirect effects on human health. Moreover there are economic effects, e.g. on health care, productivity, recreation and intrinsic losses through disruption of ecosystems. National and international organisations increasingly request monetisation of such effects for cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit evaluations. While some environmental health professionals regard the valuation of human health as unethical, others consider it a natural (though utilitarian) extension of burden of disease assessments.
Our aim is to review the key monetisation issues and valuation approaches for the economic aspects of traffic health impacts. Secondly, we compare the authors' economic view and the application of willingness-to-pay/WTP approach and Hedonic Pricing/HP approach on different environmental health endpoints.
We performed a search in the main open literature for the past 30 years concerning the monetisation of environmental health effects. Relevant publications were reviewed against a set of key criteria.
We retrieved over 250 relevant publications and rapports with a majority of theoretical concepts of monetisation related to traffic, air pollution and noise. After the screening, circa 40% of the studies were used for our paper where we focused on key literature findings regarding the WTP and HP approaches. In less than 10% of the literature original valuation data were collected and applied. The reported monetary values obtained from separate studies vary widely between studies.
The findings of a study depend strongly on the type of method utilised to assess the subject's values. According to our theoretical review, the economic values of the subjects, when analysis is performed correctly, can be aggregated to a societal level and are transferable to another similar population. There is a growing trend of applying the WTP method as a means to directly assess the respondent's values on non-marketed goods such as environmental health.