Publication

Health Benefits of Air Pollution Abatement Policy: Role of the Shape of the Concentration-Response Function

Maureen Cropper, Arden Pope, Jay Coggins and Aaron Cohen , Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 65(5) , 516-522 , June 2015.
Abstract:

There is strong evidence that fine particulate matter (aerodynamic diameter <2.5 μm; PM2.5) air pollution contributes to increased risk of disease and death. Estimates of the burden of disease attributable to PM2.5 pollution and benefits of reducing pollution are dependent upon the shape of the concentration response (C-R) functions. Recent evidence suggests that the C-R function between PM2.5 air pollution and mortality risk may be supralinear across wide ranges of exposure. Such results imply that incremental pollution abatement efforts may yield greater benefits in relatively clean areas than in highly polluted areas. The role of the shape of the C-R function in evaluating and understanding the costs and health benefits of air pollution abatement policy is explored. There remain uncertainties regarding the shape of the C-R function, and additional efforts to more fully understand the C-R relationships between PM2.5 and adverse health effects are needed to allow for more informed and effective air pollution abatement policies. Current evidence, however, suggests that there are benefits both from reducing air pollution in the more polluted areas and from continuing to reduce air pollution in cleaner areas.

Implications: Estimates of the benefits of reducing PM2.5 air pollution are highly dependent upon the shape of the PM2.5-mortality concentration-response (C-R) function. Recent evidence indicates that this C-R function may be supralinear across wide ranges of exposure, suggesting that incremental pollution abatement efforts may yield greater benefits in relatively clean areas than in highly polluted areas. This paper explores the role of the shape of the C-R function in evaluating and understanding the costs and health benefits of PM2.5 air pollution abatement.

Links to Researchers