The Effects and Costs of Air Pollution on Health Status in Great Britain

The Effects and Costs of Air Pollution on Health Status in Great Britain

Eleftherios Giovanis (University of Verona, Verona, Italy) and Oznur Ozdamar (Aydın Faculty of Economics, Department of Econometrics, Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJSEM.2016010104


This study explores the effects of air pollution on self-reported health status and the health related costs in UK. The estimates are based on data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). The effects of air pollution on individuals' health status are estimated and their monetary value is calculated. In particular, two main air pollutants are examined; ground-level ozone (O3) and carbon monoxide (CO). Moreover, various econometric approaches are followed. The annual monetary values of the health related costs for ground level O3 range between £21-£25 for a drop of one unit, while the respective values for the CO range between £19-£21.
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2. Literature Review

The Self-Assessed Health (SAH) has been used widely in previous studies of the relationship between health and socioeconomic status using British data (Benzeval et al., 2000; Salas, 2002; Adams et al., 2003; Contoyannis et al., 2004) and of the relationship between health and lifestyles (Kenkel, 1995; Contoyannis and Jones, 2004). The results are various. For example, regarding educational attainment a movement from unhealthy to a completely healthy lifestyle the proportions of individuals with higher levels of education gradually increases, while those that are unemployed are more likely to have an unhealthy lifestyle. Currie and Neidell (2005) used data from the Ambient Air Quality Database of California during the period 1989-2000 and data from the California Birth Cohort files in order to explore the effects of air pollution on infants’ weight. The authors found a significant effect of the prenatal exposure to air pollution on the probability that the infant will be born with low weight. However, when the regression analysis includes also the mother's zip code they find a small average effect.

Knittel et al. (2011) examined the effects of PM10 in California Central Valley and Southern California in the years 2002-2007. Knittel et al. (2011) used as an instrument to PM10 weekly shocks to traffic and its interactions with ambient weather conditions. The authors argue that deviation from the regional norm originates from accidents and road closures. These shocks to traffic, and thus pollution, are likely to be uncorrelated with the error term in a model of infant mortality as a function of pollution exposure. Knittel et al. (2011) find that PM10 has a large and statistically significant effect on infant mortality. Beatty and Shimshack (2011) examined the relationship between update on the ventilation filter (CCV) retrofits of school buses and respiratory health. Diseases, such as specifically bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia were the main subject of exploration. Beatty and Shimshack (2011) used two databases for their research. The first source is hospital discharge admissions derived by the Washington State Department of Health. The second source is the retrofit database, which includes approximately 4,000 buses in 53 school districts of the Puget Sound area of Washington State. Beatty and Shimshack (2011) find that school bus retrofits induced statistically significant and large reductions in bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia incidence for children and adults with chronic conditions.

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