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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 19(7)

The economic cost of adverse health effectsfrom wildfire-smoke exposure: a review

Ikuho Kochi A , Geoffrey H. Donovan B E , Patricia A. Champ C and John B. Loomis D

A Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Av. Universidad y H. Colegio Militar (Zona Chamizal), C.P. 32300, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México.
B Pacific Northwest Research Station, US Forest Service, 620 SW Main, Suite 400, Portland, OR 97205, USA.
C USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2150-A Centre Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA.
D Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, B 310 Clark Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.
E Corresponding author. Email: gdonovan@fs.fed.us

International Journal of Wildland Fire 19(7) 803-817 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF09077
Submitted: 16 July 2009  Accepted: 8 March 2010   Published: 5 November 2010


 
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Abstract

The economic costs of adverse health effects associated with exposure to wildfire smoke should be given serious consideration in determining the optimal wildfire management policy. Unfortunately, the literature in this research area is thin. In an effort to better understand the nature of these economic costs, we review and synthesise the relevant literature in three areas: studies that estimated the health-related economic costs of wildfire-smoke exposure; epidemiology studies related to the health risk of wildfire smoke; and general economic studies that estimated the monetary value of preventing the specific adverse health outcomes. Based on the findings from this literature review, we identify the need for a better understanding of the effect of wildfire smoke on major and minor adverse health outcomes. It would also be useful to know more about averting behaviours among residents exposed to smoke during a wildfire event. Finally, we suggest investigating the unique health effects of wildfire smoke compared with conventional air pollution to determine whether it is appropriate to extrapolate from previously estimated conventional pollution dose–response functions.

Additional keywords: epidemiology studies, forest fires, health damage, non-market valuation, particulate matter.


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