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Valuing morbidity effects of wildfire smoke exposure from the 2007 Southern California wildfires

Ikuho Kochi (), Patricia A. Champ, John B. Loomis and Geoffrey H. Donovan

Journal of Forest Economics, 2016, vol. 25, issue C, 29-54

Abstract: This study estimated the economic costs associated with morbidity from the wildfires that occurred in 2007 in southern California. We used the excess number of hospital admissions and emergency department visits to quantify the morbidity effects and used medical costs to estimate the economic impact. With data from 187 hospital facilities and 140 emergency departments located in five counties in southern California, we found evidence of significant acute adverse health reactions to wildfire-smoke exposure. Specifically, we found approximately 80 excess respiratory-related hospital admissions, 26 excess acute cardiovascular-related hospital admissions, nearly 760 excess respiratory-related emergency department visits, and 38 excess acute cardiovascular-related emergency department visits. We estimated that the associated medical costs were over $3.4 million. Since these cost estimates do not consider costs related to other adverse health effects, such as mortality, symptoms that were not severe enough to warrant going to the emergency room or hospital, or the costs of avoiding exposure to wildfire smoke, our estimates do not reflect the full health-related costs of wildfire smoke exposure.

Keywords: Cost of illness; Air quality; Forest fire; Cardiorespiratory illness; Social cost (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 Q51 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jfe.2016.07.002

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