The Brookings Institution reported last week on “The Impacts of Air Pollution on Employment and Productivity.” CAP’s Jorge Madrid has the story.
Brookings notes, “recent research suggests 94% of the non-climate-change costs of air pollution are health-related,” leading to “a direct impact on the health and productivity of today’s and tomorrow’s work force.” Other findings include incidents of low birth rate as a result of prenatal exposure to pollution being associated with higher health care costs and reduced earnings later in life.
No surprise here, the Environmental Protection Agency and CAP have long touted the economic benefits of strong clean air and water protections. Last year the EPA released a study finding that clean-air regulation has dramatically increased worker productivity, preventing 4,100,000 lost work days since 1970, and 31,000,000 days in which Americans would have had to restrict activity due to air-pollution-related illness. Increased worker productivity and reduced health costs will result in nearly $2 trillion in economic benefits by 2020 according to the EPA.
This timely report coincides with CAP Action’s newest efforts to urge public comments on new reduction standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (see also “Take action: Submit a public comment urging EPA to protect our health from mercury, arsenic, air toxics“).
One can only hope that politicians in Washington will do the math: Clean air = more productive workers + lower health costs.
– By Jorge Madrid