Dr. Jason Su and colleagues examine the benefits of pollution reductions in new study appearing in PNAS
In new research appearing in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Jason Su and colleagues examine the relationship between asthma symptoms and pollution, and estimate the economic benefits of pollution reductions. Dr. Su and colleagues used a nationwide dataset tracking the use of rescue medication by asthmatic individuals in a study group of more than 2,800 participants over 6 years. The study participants’ activity spaces and associated air pollution exposures were also tracked and assigned. These data were then used to estimate the relationship between pollution and inhaler use. Dr. Su and colleagues found that a 12% increase in weekly exposure to PM2.5 increased weekly inhaler use by approximately 1%; the response to pollution exposure was found to vary according to season, region, and income within the study population. The researchers combined the results of their statistical model with prior findings on people’s willingness to pay to avoid asthma symptoms, concluding that a 12% nationwide reduction in PM2.5 concentration would generate nearly $350 million annually in economic benefits. The research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Propeller Health.