The Cost of Health and Productivity Impacts of Indoor Air Pollution in California : Epidemiology

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Abstracts: ISEE 20th Annual Conference, Pasadena, California, October 12–16, 2008: Contributed Abstracts

The Cost of Health and Productivity Impacts of Indoor Air Pollution in California

Phillips, T J

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doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000340509.02236.07
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Background and Discussion:

The health and productivity impacts of common indoor air pollutants were estimated for California, based on results from field studies, coroners’ studies, and epidemiological studies. The annual impacts of residential indoor pollutants on premature mortality for the year 2000 are estimated to be 115 cases from volatile organic compounds, 1,500 cases from radon, and about 4,000 cases from environmental tobacco smoke. In addition, indoor carbon monoxide is estimated to result in 23 fatal poisonings per year. Using the value of a statistical life of $8.9 million (2007 dollars), these mortality impacts are estimated to cost $50 billion per year. In addition, the impacts of mold and moisture-related problems on asthma-related mortality are estimated to cost $44 million per year. The impacts of these pollutant exposures on hospitalization and other medical treatment are estimated to be $850 million. In addition, the impacts of indoor air pollution and poor ventilation are estimated conservatively, based on chamber and field studies, to produce a 2% reduction in worker productivity in office and school settings. The productivity impact, including salaries and benefits, is estimated to cost $8.5 billion per year. The total cost impact of indoor air pollution on health and productivity in California is estimated to be at least $60 billion per year in 2007 dollars. Additional health impacts and costs due to indoor exposures to ozone emissions from air cleaners, particles from indoor combustion sources besides tobacco smoking, lead and other metals, and some other known exposures are not included in this estimate; thus, the actual costs are likely much greater than $60 billion per year. Most of these impacts on health and cost can be avoided, as shown by intervention studies and the upcoming limits on emissions of ozone from air cleaners and on formaldehyde from composite wood in California.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.