Friday, December 21, 2012

How does ozone pollution lead to economic damage?

Ozone pollution does not only have negative environmental impact but can also lead to sizable  negative economic impact. The latest study by the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia's University claims that ozone pollution, even at levels below current air-quality standards in most parts of the world, has significant negative impacts on worker productivity.

What this means is that that environmental protection also plays vital role in promoting economic growth and that quality of environment needs to be at high level in order to ensure optimal economic results.

The optimal levels of ozone are still being heavily discussed among researchers from all over the world. Many previous studies have concluded that regulating ozone pollution levels leads to many health benefits like less hospitalizations and decreased mortality rates but this was the first study that proved the direct link between ozone pollution and worker productivity.

The researchers have calculated that a 10 ppb (parts per billion) change in average ozone exposure results in a significant 5.5 percent change in agricultural worker productivity. What this means is that ozone pollution could significantly reduce total economic output of workers that are exposed to high levels of ozone.

The additional importance of this study is in the fact that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently in plans to reduce federal ground-level ozone standards. The U.S.President Obama recently announced that he would not support Environmental Protection Agency efforts to tighten the federal ozone standard because this would be a big burden for business. This statement has, of course, stunned environmentalists and health experts who were expecting better understanding from the President Obama.

Dr Matthew Neidell, lead author of this study particularly warned about the situation in developing countries where environmental regulations are less strict and where agriculture plays a lot more important role in the economy, meaning that the effects of excessive ozone pollution  could severely impact economic prosperity of these countries.

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