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Your Environment. Your Health.

Air pollution and infant health: what can we learn from California's recent experience?

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography


Research article Cost-benefit analysis (CBA)
Currie J and Neidell M
Quarterly Journal of Economics
The authors examined the impact of ozone, carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM10) on infant health in California over the 1990s. Reductions in CO during this time period were estimated to save approximately 1,000 infant lives in California. This reduction in infant deaths due to reduced air pollution was valued at $1.6 – $4.8 billion.
Infants (≥ 26 weeks gestation)

Health Outcomes

  • Mortality (infant death, fetal death), Birth outcomes (low birth weight)

Environmental Agents

List of Environmental Agents:

  • Air pollutants (ozone (O3)), Carbon monoxide (CO), Particulate matter (PM10/coarse)

Source of Environmental Agents: (Not available)

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Cost-benefit analysis (CBA)

Cost Measured:

  • Infant deaths
  • infant mortality rates

Potential Cost Measures:

  • Willingness to pay for pollution reduction
  • costs of reducing pollution

Benefits Measures:

  • Value of infant lives saved due to pollution reduction

Potential Benefits:

  • Benefits of pollution abatement (e.g., effects of pollution levels on housing prices)


  • California

Models Used: (Not available)

Methods Used:

  • The authors examined the impact of air pollution on infant health in California over the 1990s. The authors — 1) developed a flexible, discrete-time, hazard model to estimate probability of infant death due to air pollution; 2) used case-control sampling to reduce the number of observations; and 3) developed models to estimate the probability of fetal death and low birth weight to investigate the effects of prenatal exposure.

Sources Used:

  • Air pollution data from California Environmental Protection Agency’s air monitoring stations; weather data from National Climatic Data Center TD3200; infant death data from California Birth Cohort files for 1989-2000; additional sources cited in publication

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Currie J and Neidell M. 2005. Air pollution and infant health: what can we learn from California's recent experience?. Quarterly Journal of Economics.
  • Pubmed
  • DOI

NIEHS Funding: (Not available)

Other Funding:

  • Princeton's Center for Health and Well-Being
  • University of Chicago's Center for Integrating Statistical and Environmental Science
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