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Working Paper: A Note on Trasande et al., “Public Health and Economic Consequences of Methylmercury Toxicity to the Developing Brain”

Paper Number: 2006-02

Document Date: 04/2006

Author(s): Charles Griffiths, Al McGartland, and Maggie Miller

Subject Area(s): Air Pollution; Economic Damages/Benefits; Health

Keywords: mercury; methylmercury; dose-response; IQ; fish consumption; CAMR; benefits

Abstract: In 2005, EPA promulgated the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) to permanently cap and reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. During the final stages of promulgating this rule, an article was published by Trasande et al. that raised some issues regarding how to measure benefits from reducing mercury. Using one of the models presented by Trasande, we introduce the assumptions that the EPA used in its CAMR analysis and discuss the implication of introducing these assumptions. The impact of introducing all of the EPA assumptions except for those related to discounting would decrease the estimated monetized impact of anthropogenic emissions in the Trasande model by 81% and would decrease the estimated impact of U.S. sources (including power plants) by almost 97%. Including discounting decreases Trasande’s estimate of global impacts by 88%, and decreases the impact of American and U.S. power plant impacts by 98%.

This paper is part of the Environmental Economics Working Paper Series.

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