Cost to Health Care

Economic Costs

In 2008, economic costs of air pollution will top $8 billion. By 2031, these costs will have accumulated to over $250 billion.

In addition to estimates of actual health effects, the Ontario Medical Association Illness Cost of Air Pollution (ICAP) provides estimates of the corresponding economic costs that these illnesses represent. These economic costs are estimated according to four major cost categories:

Lost Productivity:

The time lost due to treatment and recovery from air pollution-related illnesses. It includes time lost from work by patients and their caregivers. Lost time is valued at the going average wage rate for the age of the person affected.

Healthcare Costs:

These are the costs of institutional care plus medication.

Quality of Life:

To attach a dollar value to reduced quality of life due to illness (i.e., pain and suffering), ICAP uses a well established standard method that determines how much people would be willing to pay to avoid illness.

Loss of Life:

In this model, a dollar value for premature death is estimated based on the amount of money people are willing to pay to reduce their risk of premature death (i.e., to reduce the risk of premature death due to air pollution exposure).