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Your Environment. Your Health.

Economic implications of mercury exposure in the context of the global mercury treaty: Hair mercury levels and estimated lost economic productivity in selected developing countries

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography

Details

Research article Cost analysis (CA)
Authors
Trasande L, Digangi J, Evers DC, Petrlik J, Buck DG, Samanek J, Beeler B, Turnquist MA, and Regan K
Journal
J Environ Manage
Summary
This study reported the economic costs related to mercury exposure for subpopulations near sites located within 15 developing and transitioning countries. The authors estimated that a total of $77.4 million in lost economic productivity assuming a 1 ppm reference level, and $130 million if no reference level was used. The authors concluded that significant mercury exposures occur in developing and transition country communities near sources named in the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and their estimates suggest that a large economic burden could be avoided by timely implementation of measures to prevent mercury exposures.
Population
Adults (≥ 18 years)

Health Outcomes

  • Neurological/cognitive outcomes

Environmental Agents

List of Environmental Agents:

  • Metals (mercury)

Source of Environmental Agents:

  • Anthropogenic sources (chlor-alkali plants, artisanal small-scale gold mining, coal-fired power plants, waste incineration, non-ferrous metal smelting, cement plants), wastes, contaminated sites, global deposition

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source

Type:

  • Cost analysis (CA)

Cost Measured:

  • Economic costs associated with IQ points lost (e.g., lost economic productivity)
  • indirect economic costs due to diminished educational achievements and reduced labor force participation
  • DALY losses due to intellectual disability

Potential Cost Measures: (Not available)

Benefits Measures: (Not available)

Potential Benefits: (Not available)

Location:

  • Developing and transition countries (15 sites) that have communities near mercury sources named in the Minamata Convention on Mercury: Albania, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cameroon, Cook Islands, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Uruguay

Models Used: (Not available)

Methods Used:

  • Authors estimated the economic costs related to mercury exposure for subpopulations near sites located within 15 developing and transitioning countries that are most likely to benefit from implementation of the global mercury treaty (Minamata Convention on Mercury). The authors — 1) used mercury sources listed in the Minamata Convention as a guide for selection of the sites; 2) developed a standardized hair sampling protocol for all selected countries to ensure samples were collected in a uniform fashion; 3) calculated log-transformed mercury concentrations across samples collected from each location; 4) used a linear dose-response relationship that previously identified a 0.18 decrement per ppm increase in hair mercury to estimate IQ losses for each location; and 5) estimated the corresponding increases in intellectual disability and lost Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) for each location.

Sources Used:

  • Data on mercury sources and sites listed within the Minamata Convention on Mercury (United Nations Environment Programme, 2013a); Dose-response relationship of prenatal mercury exposure and IQ: an integrative analysis of epidemiologic data (Axelrad et al., 2007); World Bank data (World Bank, 2014); Census data for Albania (Albania, 2011); Census data for Bangladesh (Bangladesh 2011a, 2011b); Census data for Belarus (Belarus, 2011); Census data for Cameroon (Cameroon, 2011); Census data for Cook Islands (Cook Islands, 2011); Census data for India (India, 2011); Census data for Indonesia (Indonesia, 2011); Census data for Keny (Kenya, 2011); Census data for Mexico (Mexico, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c); Census data for Nepal (Nepal, 2011); Census data for Russia (Russia, 2011a, 2011b); Census data for Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka, 2011); Census data for Tanzania (Tanzania, 2011a, 2011b); Census data for Thailand (Thailand, 2011); Census data for Uruguay (Uruguay, 2011); Global Burden of Disease (WHO, 2008); additional sources cited in publication

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source

Citation:

  • Trasande L, Digangi J, Evers DC, Petrlik J, Buck DG, Samanek J, Beeler B, Turnquist MA, and Regan K. 2016. Economic implications of mercury exposure in the context of the global mercury treaty: Hair mercury levels and estimated lost economic productivity in selected developing countries. J Environ Manage.

Pubmed:

DOI:

NIEHS Funding: (Not available)

Other Funding:

  • Environment Protection Agency of Sweden (HGFREE2011, HGFREE2012)
  • Federal Office for the Environment of Switzerland (K21-20775)
  • IPEN
  • Gelfond Fund (Gelfound Fund 2012 to DC Evers)
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