Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Applying cost analyses to drive policy that protects children - mercury as a case study

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography


Research article Cost analysis (CA)
Trasande L, Schecther C, Haynes KA, and Landrigan PJ
Annals of the New York Academy of Science
The economic costs of adverse health effects associated with prenatal mercury/methyl mercury exposure were determined using cost analysis. The costs related to diminished intelligence was estimated to be $8.7 billion annually, and costs of excess mental retardation cases is $2.0 billion annually. These results suggest that more stringent mercury policy options would prevent thousands of mental retardation cases and save billions of dollars over the next 25 years.
Infants (≤ 1 year)

Health Outcomes

  • Neurological/cognitive outcomes (IQ deficits, mental retardation)

Environmental Agents

List of Environmental Agents:

  • Metals (mercury/methyl mercury)

Source of Environmental Agents:

  • Industrial mercury emissions (American coal-fired power plants)

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Cost analysis (CA)

Cost Measured:

  • IQ deficits associated with prenatal mercury exposure
  • economic costs associated with IQ deficits
  • costs of excess mental retardation (MR) cases
  • cost of caring for MR children

Potential Cost Measures: (Not available)

Benefits Measures: (Not available)

Potential Benefits:

  • Policies (e.g., EPAs Clean Air Mercury Rule) will likely result in the following benefits — averted cases of mental retardation
  • dollars saved/costs averted related to lost economic productivity, special education, and healthcare.

Location: (Not available)

Models Used:

  • Environmentally Attributable Fraction (EAF) model
  • linear dose-response model used by the National Research Council (NRC) to set reference dose for mercury exposure

Methods Used:

  • The authors assessed the impact of industrial mercury emissions on children's health. Using an environmentally attributable fraction (EAF) model, the authors — 1) reviewed the adverse effects of MeHg exposure; 2) estimated the costs of the adverse effects (IQ decrements and mental retardation) and subsequently applied a further fraction to parse out the cost of anthropogenic MeHg exposure resulting from emissions of American electrical generation facilities; 3) used previously published data to obtain estimates about mercury concentrations in women of child-bearing age and mental retardation cases/prevalence in US; and 4) conducted sensitivity analysis with lower bound and upper bounds for estimating the costs to children with estimated cord blood concentrations.

Sources Used:

  • NHANES (1999 - 2000); CDC National Vital Statistics System (2004); additional sources cited in publication

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Trasande L, Schecther C, Haynes KA, and Landrigan PJ. 2006. Applying cost analyses to drive policy that protects children - mercury as a case study. Annals of the New York Academy of Science.
  • Pubmed: (Not available)
  • DOI

NIEHS Funding:

  • P42ES07384-07S1

Other Funding: (Not available)

to Top