Retrospective Analysis of the Health Benefits to Seniors from the 1997 NAAQS for Annual Average PM2.5 Concentrations

Project: Research project

Project Details


The EPAs (2011) second prospective analysis of the benefits and costs of the CleanAir Act (CAA) attributes approximately 75% of the annual benefits to reducing premature mortality among people over age 65.1 In 2010 these benefits are estimated to be approximately $1 trillion ($2006). This benefit is partly due to implementation of the 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) on annual average concentrations of PM2.5. The EPA (2011) derived the $1 trillion mortality benefit for seniors from three metrics: (1) a prediction for actual PM2.5 exposure relative to counterfactual exposure that would have occurred in the absence of the PM2.5 NAAQS and complementary regulations such as the Clean Air Interstate Rule, (2) a mortality concentration-response function, and (3) a measure for the value of statistical life (VSL). Existing economic research leaves substantial uncertainty about each of these three key metrics and, hence, about total benefits.

Research Objective: We propose to measure the monetary benefits to people over age 65 from the EPAs 1997 revision to the NAAQS under sections 108 and 109 of the Clean Air Act to add a new annual standard for PM2.5 of 15 ug/m3 (62 FR 38652). Our retrospective evaluation will leverage novel data and causal inference methods to develop new estimates for each of the three key metrics that EPA (2011) used to prospectively evaluate benefits of PM2.5 reductions under the CAA: (1) actual PM2.5 exposure from 2000-2010, (2) a concentration-response function, and (3) the VSL. We will combine our estimates for these metrics to develop a retrospective estimate for the annual monetary benefits of PM2.5 reductions to people over 65 that can be compared against the EPAs (2011) prospective estimate for the year 2010.
Effective start/end date4/1/213/31/22


  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): $24,998.00


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