Air Quality Protection

 V. Key Issues: Population Health >> D. Environmental Health>> Air Quality Protection (last updated: 11.26.17)


Gains in Life Expectancy Due to Regulation. According to an analysis by Michael Greenstone(9.24.15), gains in life expectancy due to the improvement in air quality since 1970 have been as high as 5.2 years in some communities. “More than 200 million people currently live in places monitored for particulates in 1970 and today. On average, these people can expect to live an additional 1.6 years, for a total gain of more than 336 million life-years. Not all of these benefits came from Clean Air Act regulations. Other factors include local regulations and the shifting of relatively dirty industries abroad. But the Clean Air Act was a primary cause.”

Health Impact of Fossil Fuels. Rizk and Machol found a wide range for the valuations for health impacts by fuel type: 19 to 45 cents per kilowatt-hour for coal, 8 to 19 cents per kilowatt-hour for oil, and 1 to 2 cents per kilowatt-hour for natural gas. The economic value of the health impacts was based on premature mortality, workdays lost, and other direct costs to the healthcare system resulting from emissions of PM2.5, NOx, and SO2.


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