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Economic damage cost of premature death due to fine particulate matter in Seoul, Korea

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Economic damage cost of premature death due to fine particulate matter in Seoul, Korea

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Analyzing the economic value of the damage to human health caused by environmental risks has become an essential research focus, given the increasing necessity for effective decision-making. Since logical and rational analyses such as cost–benefit and cost–utility analyses will likely gain importance in future policymaking, the evaluation of economic costs becomes necessary. Among the various types of air pollutants, fine particulate matter (PM) is reported as closely related to mortality. To reduce result uncertainty by improving the methodology of risk assessment or the economic evaluation of fine PM, risk control measures are required for high-priority areas. This study addresses this issue by estimating the relative risk of PM2.5 while calculating the economic loss cost arising from acute death due to fine PM exposure in Seoul, Korea. The value of statistical life of one person’s willingness to pay for mortality risk reduction is calculated to estimate the economic loss cost at each current level of exposure. The estimated economic loss cost due to all-cause mortality during 2016–2018 totaled approximately USD 1307.9 million per year; the costs of loss from respiratory and cardiovascular mortalities were USD 128.1 million per year and USD 426.9 million, respectively. Based on these results, this study concludes that the standards for PM2.5 are more effective than the ones established for PM10 in terms of economic value.
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Economic damage cost of premature death due to fine particulate
matter in Seoul, Korea
Yongjin Lee
1
&Jiyeon Yang
1
&Youngwook Lim
1
&Changsoo Kim
1
Received: 23 February 2021 /Accepted: 7 May 2021
#The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021
Abstract
Analyzing the economic value of the damage to human health caused by environmental risks has become an essential research
focus, given the increasing necessity for effective decision-making. Since logical and rational analyses such as costbenefit and
costutility analyses will likely gain importance in future policymaking, the evaluation of economic costs becomes necessary.
Among the various types of air pollutants, fine particulate matter (PM) is reported as closely related to mortality. To reduce result
uncertainty by improving the methodology of risk assessment or the economic evaluation of fine PM, risk control measures are
required for high-priority areas. This study addresses this issue by estimating the relative risk of PM
2.5
while calculating the
economic loss cost arising from acute death due to fine PM exposure in Seoul, Korea. The value of statistical life of one persons
willingness to pay for mortality risk reduction is calculated to estimate the economic loss cost at each current level of exposure.
The estimated economic loss cost due to all-cause mortality during 20162018 totaled approximately USD 1307.9 million per
year; the costs of loss from respiratory and cardiovascular mortalities were USD 128.1 million per year and USD 426.9 million,
respectively. Based on these results, this study concludes that the standards for PM
2.5
are more effective than the ones established
for PM
10
in terms of economic value.
Keywords Air pollution .Particulate matter .Willingness to pay .Value of statistical life .Premature death
Introduction
Air pollution has direct and lasting effects on human beings,
while demonstrating greater public health significance than
other types of pollution such as water pollution or waste con-
tamination; this is because its range of population exposure is
the widest. Specifically, fine particulate matter (PM) is an
airborne substance of complex composition, primarily gener-
ated from vehicle exhaust emissions and road dust. Therefore,
the widely varying particle size, surface area, and chemical
composition of PM are known to have various health effects.
The respiratory effects of fine PM primarily manifest as
inflammatory reactions in the bronchioles, which can cause
or worsen asthma, chronic bronchitis, and respiratory
obstruction. Moreover, fine PM can cause respiratory infec-
tions by impeding the inactivation or elimination of bacteria in
the pulmonary tissue. It has also recently been recognized as
an important risk factor in cardiovascular diseases such as
myocardial infarction, stroke, heart rate abnormalities, and
sudden death.
There have been reports on the effects of fine PM on
humans since the late 1980s; however, this issue started
gaining attention only after the publication of a study on the
relationship between air pollution and death in six US cities by
Dockery et al. (1993). In this study, among the various types
of air pollutants, fine PM was reported to be most closely
related to mortality. This marked the importance of fine
PMs role in environmental health. Recently, Pope III et al.
(2002) analyzed the relationship between long-term exposure
to fine PM and mortality from lung cancer and cardiovascular
disease, further highlighting the health impact of fine PM.
They conducted a prospective follow-up study of 1.2 million
subjects in the American Cancer Prevention Study II, showing
that every 10 μg/m
3
increase in fine PM caused a 4% increase
in the risk of all-cause chronic mortality, a 6% increase in
cardiovascular mortality, and an 8% increase in cancer deaths.
Responsible Editor: Lotfi Aleya
*Yongjin Lee
yjlee75@yuhs.ac
1
Institute for Environmental Research, College of Medicine, Yonsei
University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03722, Korea
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-14362-y
/ Published online: 14 May 2021
Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2021) 28:51702–51713
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
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