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Your Environment. Your Health.

Goal 10 – Evaluation of Economic Impact

Implementation Highlights and Accomplishments

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Evaluate the economic impact of policies, practices, and behaviors that reduce exposure to environmental toxicants, through prevention of disease and disabilities, and invest in research programs to test how prevention improves public health and minimizes economic burden.

  1. Develop an interdisciplinary research and training program in environmental health economics, to better understand the economic costs and benefits of environmental exposures, related diseases, and interventions to prevent exposures and diseases.
  2. Measure economic benefits and comparative effectiveness of NIEHS investments, employing health economics as a part of the NIEHS research agenda, and develop tools and databases to advance this research.
  3. Assist policymakers with systematic review and state-of-the-science assessments to help them make clinical and policy recommendations.

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography Search

NIEHS developed this searchable database of over 70 scientific articles to help environmental health researchers learn about economic analyses and incorporate them into their research.

Search the Database

Selected Programs and Awards

Using Medication Purchases to Measure the Health Consequences of Air Pollution

Oliver Deschenes, at the National Bureau of Economic Research, provided the first large-scale evidence of the effect of air and ozone pollution on medication purchases, a previously unmeasured cost of climate change. Grant number: R21ES019375

FRESH: Dual Home Screening for Lung Cancer Prevention

Ella Hahn Ph.D., R.N., at the University of Kentucky, uses a randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of the new Freedom from Radon Exposure and Smoking in the Home (FRESH) intervention. The intervention includes both a home screening and tailored environmental feedback to reduce environmental risks for lung cancer, and to identify factors associated with monetary incentives for radon mitigation. The long-term goals of the intervention are to foster environmental justice by reducing home exposure to radon and second-hand smoke and to promote equity in radon mitigation through policy changes that provide tax credits. Grant number: R01ES021502

HomeBASE (Home-Based Asthma Support and Education for Adults)

James Kreiger, M.D., M.P.H. at Seattle-King County Public Health Department, developed and evaluated home-based education and support for reducing asthma-related morbidity and related health care utilization among low-income, ethnically diverse adults with asthma ages 18-65 in the Seattle/King County metropolitan area. Grant number: R01ES014583

The Impact of Environmental Conditions on the Productivity of Agricultural Worker

Matthew Neidell, Ph.D., of Columbia University Health Sciences, analyzed the impact of environmental conditions on labor productivity. Using a dataset of hourly farm worker output merged with data on environmental conditions, he examined the impacts of 'pollution' (e.g. temperature and ozone) on worker productivity. Grant number: R21ES019670

Farmworker Housing Quality and Health: A Transdisciplinary Conference

Thomas Arcury, Ph.D, of Wake Forest University Health Sciences, held a conference which drew together experts from a variety of disciplines who contribute to research and practice focused on farmworker housing and health in order to delineate current knowledge and propose next steps. Grant number: R13ES023709

Smart adsorption system for removal of toxic, organic chemicals from drinking water

Takuji Tsukamoto, of Chemica Technologies, Inc. developed a water filter that utilized a sorbent system composed of specifically functionalized, robust and light-weight activated carbon fibers (ACF) to removes arsenic from drinking water. Grant number: R43ES020665

Enhanced Membrane Systems for Supplying Quality Drinking Water

Andrew Feiring, of Compact Membrane Systems, Inc. is developing a membrane system that will utilize the advantages of singlet oxygen as a disinfectant for contaminated water while eliminating the difficulties and inefficiencies inherent in current technology for generation and use of disinfectants. Grant number: R43ES022870

Community Health Assessment of Risks associated with the Macondo Spill

Sharon Croisant, M.S. Ph.D., of University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, will conduct a study that will concentrate on the contamination of Gulf fish and shellfish and the potential health effects in humans consuming tainted seafood at both the individual and community levels. Grant number: U19ES020676

Health Impact of Deepwater Horizon Spill in Eastern Gulf Coast Communities

John Glen Morris, M.D., of the University of Florida, will conduct a multi-pronged study into the continuing effect of the Deepwater Horzon Spill in the communities that surround the spill. The researchers will utilize the findings to assist community recovery from the oil spill. Grant number: U19ES020683

Children’s Center Project

Frederica Perera, Dr.P.H., of Columbia University, addresses economic analysis as part of the Children’s Centers research. The center’s ultimate goal is the prevention of serious adverse PAH-related effects on children's health and development by providing communities, policy-makers, and clinicians with scientific data that will motivate community engagement, strengthen environmental and health policy both locally and nation- wide, and ultimately lead to effective interventions in children affected by air pollution. Grant number: P01ES009600

A Discrete Event Simulation Model of Environmental Exposures and Pediatric Asthma

Jonathan Levy, Sc.D., of Harvard University School of Public Health, developed a discrete event simulation model of pediatric asthma and used this model to evaluate the impacts of interventions in residential indoor environments on environmental exposures and asthma exacerbations. Grant number: R21ES017522

Climate Change and Future Air Pollution Mortality: Exploration of Scenarios

James West, Ph.D., of University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, is studying the effects of climate change on global human health through changes in air quality, and will quantify the air quality and health benefits of actions to slow climate change. The study will assess premature human mortality caused by exposure to outdoor ozone and fine particulate matter using models of current and future air pollution. Grant number: R21ES22600

Selected Scientific Advances

  • Publicly available as an NBER Working Paper Defensive Investments and the Demand for Air Quality: Evidence from the NOx Budget Program and Ozone Reductions (No. 18267 available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w18267 ) since August 2012.
  • Graff Zivin, Joshua, and Matthew Neidell. 2012. The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity. American Economic Review, 102(7): 3652-73. [Abstract]
  • Graff Zivin, Joshua, and Matthew Neidell. 2013. Environment, Health, and Human Capital. Journal of Economic Literature, 51(3): 689-730.   [Abstract]
  • Chang, Tom, Joshua Graff Zivin, Tal Gross, and Matthew Neidell. 2014. Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers. Under submission. [Abstract]
  • A provisional patent application has been filed (application #61802514; filed March 16, 2013) on our invention titled Selective Adsorbent Fabric for Water Purification.
  • Frederica Perera, Katherine Weiland, Matthew Neidelld, and Shuang Wang. 2014. Prenatal exposure to airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and IQ: Estimated benefit of pollution reduction. Journal of Public Health Policy. [Abstract]
  • Fabian MP, Adamkiewicz G, Stout NK, Sandel M, Levy JI. (2014.) A simulation model of building intervention impacts on indoor environmental quality, pediatric asthma, and costs. J Allergy Clin Immunol;133(1):77-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2013.06.003. [Abstract]
  • West, J. J., S. J. Smith, R. A. Silva, V. Naik, Y. Zhang, Z. Adelman, M. M. Fry, S. Anenberg, L. W. Horowitz, and J.-F. Lamarque (2013) Co-benefits of global greenhouse gas mitigation for future air quality and human health, Nature Climate Change, 3, 885-889, doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2009. (PMCID in progress) [Abstract]

Other Implementation Activities

Keystone Science Lecture Seminar Series

Handbook for Conducting a Literature-Based Health Assessment Using OHAT Approach for Systematic Review and Evidence Integration
The NTP Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) has developed and released a “Handbook for Conducting a Literature-Based Health Assessment Using OHAT Approach for Systematic Review and Evidence Integration” that provides standard operating procedures that improve the reliability, ease, and efficiency of conducting systematic reviews in OHAT evaluations. Systematic Review and Evidence Integration for Literature-Based Environmental Health Science Assessments.

Environmental Health Economic Analysis at NIEHS