New study examines mortality costs of air pollution in US

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A team of University of Illinois researchers estimated the mortality costs associated with air pollution in the U.S. by developing and applying a novel machine learning-based method to estimate the life-years lost and cost associated with air pollution exposure. Scholars from the Gies College of Business at Illinois studied the causal effects of acute fine particulate matter exposure on mortality, health care use and medical costs among older Americans through Medicare data and a unique way of measuring air pollution via changes in local wind direction. The researchers--Tatyana Deryugina, Nolan Miller, David Molitor and Julian Reif--calculated that the reduction in particulate matter experienced between 1999-2013 resulted in elderly mortality reductions worth $24 billion annually by the end of that period. Garth Heutel of Georgia State University and the National Bureau of Economic Research was a co-author of the paper. "Our goal with this paper was to quantify the costs of air pollution on mortality in a particularly vulnerable population: the elderly," said Deryugina, a professor of finance who studies the health effects and distributional impact of air pollution.

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