The Cost of Air Pollution

Health Impacts of Road Transport

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Outdoor air pollution kills more than 3 million people across the world every year, and causes health problems from asthma to heart disease for many more. This is costing societies very large amounts in terms of the value of lives lost and ill health. Based on extensive new epidemiological evidence since the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study, and OECD estimates of the Value of Statistical Life, this report provides evidence on the health impacts from air pollution and the related economic costs.

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Defining the economic cost of health impacts

This chapter begins with a restatement of the economic first principles informing the valuation of life and health and, therewith, the cost of mortalities and morbidities. It shows that a standard method is available by which to measure the cost of mortality – the value of statistical life (VSL). While there is work to be done in order to establish standard measurement methods regarding morbidity, it is possible to proceed with an indicative estimate of the additional cost imposed by morbidities drawn from the best available evidence.

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