During the 2000-2002 time period, between 36 and 56% of ozone monitors each year in the United States failed to meet the current ozone standard of 80 ppb for the fourth highest maximum 8-hr ozone concentration. We estimated the health benefits of attaining the ozone standard at these monitors using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program. We used health impact functions based on published epidemiologic studies, and valuation functions derived from the economics literature. The estimated health benefits for 2000 and 2001 are similar in magnitude, whereas the results for 2002 are roughly twice that of each of the prior 2 years. The simple average of health impacts across the 3 years includes reductions of 800 premature deaths, 4,500 hospital and emergency department admissions, 900,000 school absences, and > 1 million minor restricted activity days. The simple average of benefits (including premature mortality) across the 3 years is $5.7 billion [90% confidence interval (CI), 0.6-15.0] for the quadratic rollback simulation method and $4.9 billion (90% CI, 0.5-14.0) for the proportional rollback simulation method. Results are sensitive to the form of the standard and to assumptions about background ozone levels. If the form of the standard is based on the first highest maximum 8-hr concentration, impacts are increased by a factor of 2-3. Increasing the assumed hourly background from zero to 40 ppb reduced impacts by 30 and 60% for the proportional and quadratic attainment simulation methods, respectively.
Read paper at Environment Health Perspective