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Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography

The NIEHS Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography is a searchable database that summarizes key attributes from more than 70 curated environmental health science articles that include economic analyses. We plan to update these resources periodically. To nominate an article for review, suggest additional resources, or comment on these resources, please contact:

Article Selection Method

Peer-reviewed articles and gray literature (e.g., government reports from NIH and EPA) were identified in PubMed and Web of Science from calendar years 1989-2015 using the following key words:

  • *Economic (economic analysis, economic evaluation, economic impacts, etc.)
  • Cost-benefit OR cost benefit
  • QALY
  • Burden
  • Cost-effective OR cost effective

These keywords were then combined with environmental pollutant* OR environmental pollution OR environmental health OR air pollution OR air pollutant* OR mercury OR lead (Pb) or metal OR BPA OR pesticide* OR phthalate OR PCB OR cookstove (and other relevant exposures).

The annotated bibliography is not exhaustive – articles were selected primarily based on relevance to the NIEHS research portfolio, research based in the United States and or in English language journals. Articles not selected for full annotation are listed in the supplemental spreadsheet.

Key attributes coded

The selected articles were systematically analyzed to capture information related to the following six attributes:

General Coding Field/Category Subcategory of Coding Field Definitions
Article Type Research Article Peer reviewed research article that conducts either primary data analysis (authors generate and analyze data) or secondary data analysis (authors use previously published data to generate new findings).
Review Does not cover original research, but summarizes and describes results of many studies on a particular topic. Includes narrative reviews and systematic reviews.
Commentary Editorial or opinion.
Report/white paper Not peer reviewed literature, also considered "gray literature".
Type of Economic Evaluation* Cost Analysis (CA) An assessment of costs related to the exposures/outcomes addressed in the publication (e.g., healthcare costs) and no benefit analysis is reported.
Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) This type of study would be multiple cost-benefit analyses in one (e.g., looking at the effectiveness (in costs) of Intervention A, compared to Intervention B) and a comparison of each intervention’s effectiveness.
Cost-Utility Analysis (CUA) Results are usually represented as lives saved (e.g., cost per quality adjusted life year, or similar metric) instead of dollars.
Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) Assessment of costs related to a particular intervention and the benefits of the intervention (typically in dollars).
General Information Study Specific Population Target population/data chosen for the study (e.g., children < 6 years of age).
Environmental Agents Single or multiple environmental agents examined/assessed for the study.
Health Outcomes Single or multiple health outcomes examined/assessed for the study.
Location/Region Specificity Studies conducted or have data pertaining to specific areas or regions (e.g., Minnesota, United States).
Methodology and Analysis Models Used List of models used in the study.
Models Used (Links or References) Links or references for specific models used in study, when applicable.
Methods Used Methods implemented by the investigators to perform the study.
Economic Measures/ Variables for Costs and Benefits Costs Measured/Variables Measured List of costs and/or variables assessed/considered for the study. In the publication, these costs are generally those that have numerical estimates backed by cited results.
Potential Cost Measures/Variable Measures Costs and/or variables mentioned but, for some reason, not included in the estimate (e.g., exclusion for the sake of keeping the results conservative). These variables were sometimes mentioned in the context of other areas of analyses that are necessary or needed for research.
Benefits Measures/Benefits Variables Brief list or summary of benefits assessed/considered for the study. These benefits are usually related to a proposed intervention within a cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit analysis.
Potential Benefits Measures/Benefits Variables Benefits and/or benefit variables mentioned, but for some reason, not included in the estimate. These variables were sometimes mentioned in the context of other areas of analyses that are necessary or needed for research.
Data Sources, Funding and Summaries Sources of Data Datasets utilized as data source in publication.
NIEHS Funding Identifies studies with NIEHS grant support.
Summaries Description of publication contributions, findings, and results.

*Task Force on Community Preventive Services, Zara S, Briss PA, and Harris KW. (2005). The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What works to promote health? Chapter 11: Understanding and Using the Economic Evidence. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151091.001.0001 URL:

Note that costs and benefits are treated differently depending on the subject of the type of economic evaluation. In CA and CUA, the subject is the condition or exposure, whereas in CEA and CBA, the subject is the intervention in question.