Early Deaths, Health Care Costs From Air Pollution Hit California Economy
Air pollution leads to about $28 billion in annual losses in the California economy, largely in premature deaths, illness and lost productivity, according to a study released Wednesday by researchers at California State University-Fullerton, the Los Angeles Times reports (Sahagun, Los Angeles Times, 11/13).
Although air pollution is most pronounced in the Los Angeles Basin and the San Joaquin Valley, economists stressed that the financial costs to hospitals, HMOs, employers and residents were shared statewide.
The study projects that reducing air pollution to federal standards in the two regions each year would prevent:
- 2,800 visits to hospital emergency departments;
- 2,760 hospital admissions;
- 141,370 asthma attacks;
- 1,950 cases of adult onset chronic bronchitis;
- 3,680 premature deaths among adults ages 30 and older;
- 13 premature deaths in infants; and
- 466,800 work absences (Kay, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/13).
The study does not offer specific proposals but could be considered in policy debates over strategies to address air pollution (Los Angeles Times, 11/13).
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation provided $90,000 for the study (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/13).
Links to news reports on the local findings of the study appear below.
- "Study Names New Price of Pollution" (Grossi, Fresno Bee, 11/12).
- "Dirty Air Costing County Billions" (Abrams, Los Angeles Daily News, 11/12).
- "Inland Bad Air Called $6.3 Billion-Dollar Burden" (Danelski, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/12).