Meeting report: Estimating the benefits of reducing hazardous air pollutants--summary of 2009 workshop and future considerations.
BACKGROUND: Quantifying the benefits of reducing hazardous air pollutants (HAPs, or air toxics) has been limited by gaps in toxicological data, uncertainties in extrapolating results from high-dose animal experiments to estimate human effects at lower doses, limited ambient and personal exposure monitoring data, and insufficient economic research to support valuation of the health impacts often associated with exposure to individual air toxics. OBJECTIVES: To address some of these issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held the Workshop on Estimating the Benefits of Reducing Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) in Washington, DC, from 30 April to 1 May 2009. DISCUSSION: Experts from multiple disciplines discussed how best to move forward on air toxics benefits assessment, with a focus on developing near-term capability to conduct quantitative benefits assessment. Proposed methodologies involved analysis of data-rich pollutants and application of this analysis to other pollutants, using dose-response modeling of animal data for estimating benefits to humans, determining dose-equivalence relationships for different chemicals with similar health effects, and analysis similar to that used for criteria pollutants. Limitations and uncertainties in economic valuation of benefits assessment for HAPS were discussed as well. CONCLUSIONS: These discussions highlighted the complexities in estimating the benefits of reducing air toxics, and participants agreed that alternative methods for benefits assessment of HAPs are needed. Recommendations included clearly defining the key priorities of the Clean Air Act air toxics program to identify the most effective approaches for HAPs benefits analysis, focusing on susceptible and vulnerable populations, and improving dose-response estimation for quantification of benefits.
Gwinn, MR; Craig, J; Axelrad, DA; Cook, R; Dockins, C; Fann, N; Fegley, R; Guinnup, DE; Helfand, G; Hubbell, B; Mazur, SL; Palma, T; Smith, RL; Vandenberg, J; Sonawane, B
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