Health benefits of improving air quality in Taiyuan, China

Since 2000, the government in Shanxi province has mounted several initiatives and mandated factory shutdowns with the goal of reducing coal burning emissions and the environmental impacts of industrialization. We estimated the health benefits associated with air quality improvement from 2001 to 2010 in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, using disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and monetized the health benefits using value of statistical life (VOSL). Data were collected on annual average concentrations of particulate matter less than 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) and relevant health outcomes in Taiyuan from 2001 to 2010. Selected exposure–response functions were used to calculate the cases of death or disease attributable to PM10 annually over a 10-year period. These were summed to calculate the DALYs lost and their monetary value associated with PM10 each year between 2001 and 2010. Air quality improvement from 2001 to 2010 was estimated to have prevented 2810 premature deaths, 951 new cases of chronic bronchitis, 141,457 cases of outpatient visits, 969 cases of emergency-room visits and 31,810 cases of hospital admissions. The DALYs (VOSL) decreased by 56.92% (52.68%) from 52,937 (7274 million Yuan) in 2001 to 22,807 (3442 million Yuan) in 2010. Premature deaths accounted for almost 95% of the total DALYs. Our analysis demonstrates that air pollution abatement during the last decade in Taiyuan has generated substantial health benefits.

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