Does Air Pollution Affect Productivity?

The Effect of Pollution on Worker Productivity: Evidence from Call-Center Workers in China (Abstract, Tom Chang, Joshua Graff Zivin, Tal Gross, Matthew Neidell, NBER Working Paper No. 22328, Jun. 2016)
Also discussed here: The effect of pollution on worker productivity: Evidence from call-centre workers in China (Tom Chang, Tal Gross, Joshua Graff Zivin, Matthew Neidell, VOX- CEPR’s Policy Portal, Jul. 15, 016)

And here:Pollution is bad for your health, but is it also making you less productive? (Tal Gross, Tom Chang, Joshua Graff Zivin, Matthew NeidellWorld Economic Forum, Jul. 25, 2016)

Today we review research that looks at how the productivity of call workers in China was affected by higher levels of pollution. Results indicate that a 10% increase in the Air Pollution Index (API) was associated with a 0.3% drop in calls handled each day. Translated to China’s office workers as a whole, a 10% improvement in air pollution equates to $2.2 Billion/year in productivity. Or, to put it in a big city North American context (Los Angeles), were the 90 days that pollution levels exceeded EPA standards eliminated, the productivity for that city alone would be $378 greater. As the authors comment in terms of broader implications, pollution restrictions, aimed at an improved environment, are sometimes seen as a negative, unfair “tax” by businesses. This paper shows that it could help rather than hinder their bottom line.


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Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP) by Children up to 15 Years Old

Long-term air pollution exposure and lung function in 15 year-old adolescents living in an urban and rural area in Germany: The GINIplus and LISAplus cohorts (Abstract,  Elaine Fuertes, Johannes Bracher , Claudia Flexeder , Iana Markevych , Claudia Klümper, Barbara Hoffmann , Ursula Krämer, Andrea von Berg , Carl-Peter Bauer , Sibylle Koletzko , Dietrich Berdel, Joachim Heinrich, Holger Schulz, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Mar. 2015)

Today we review research that tries to answer the question of whether exposure to traffic-related air pollution by children has both a short term and long term effect on their lung development. Results indicate that while no link was found between long term exposure on lung development, that those who had asthma did show a link with long term exposure to NO2. It was also observed that the impact of short term exposure may be reversible later in their lives.

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Pathways for Carbon Free Energy for the World

100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) All-Sector Energy Roadmaps for 139 Countries of the World (62 page pdf, Mark Z. Jacobson, Mark A. Delucchi, Zack A.F. Bauer, Savannah C. Goodman, William E. Chapman, Mary A. Cameron, Alphabetical: Cedric Bozonnat, Liat Chobadi, Jenny R. Erwin, Simone N. Fobi, Owen K. Goldstrom, Sophie H. Harrison, Ted M. Kwasnik, Jonathan Lo, Jingyi Liu, Chun J. Yi, Sean B. Morris, Kevin R. Moy, Patrick L. O’Neill, Stephanie Redfern, Robin Schucker, Mike A. Sontag, Jingfan Wang, Eric Weiner, Alex S. Yachanin, Stanford University, Apr. 24, 2016)

Also discussed here: Clean Energy Could Fuel Most Countries by 2050, Study Shows (Zahra Hirji, InsideClimate News, Niv. 27, 2015)

Today we review a draft report prepared for the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris that provides an analysis of the ways that renewable energy source could be applied in 139 countries to replace the carbon sources currently used. Currently, only 3.8% of the power capacity is installed to reach 100% clean energy worldwide. In Canada, as an example, a power load of 412.1 gigawatts  is required by 2050 under a business as usual scenario . Under a clean energy scenario, however, the country would need only 240.2 gigawatts of power. Most of the energy would come from onshore and offshore wind (58%), utility-scale and rooftop solar (21%), hydropower (16.5 %) and a mix of other sources, including geothermal (2%) and wave energy. The avoided health costs would be $107.6B per year which represents 4% of GDP or 9,598 air pollution deaths avoided every year. The estimated total electricity, health and climate cost savings of this transition would amount to about $8,887 per Canadian per year (in 2013 dollars).


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Kidney Disease and Air Pollution

Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution and Increased Risk of Membranous Nephropathy in China (Abstract, Xin Xu, Guobao Wang, Nan Chen, Tao Lu*, Sheng Nie*, Gang Xu, Ping Zhang§, Yang Luo, Yongping Wang*, Xiaobin Wang, Joel Schwartz**, Jian Geng††‡‡ and Fan Fan Hou, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Jun. 30, 2016)

Also discussed here: Air pollution linked to increased rates of kidney disease – Regions in China with high levels of fine particulate air pollution have elevated rates of membranous nephropathy (Science Daily, Jun. 30, 2016)

Today we review research on the impact of particulate matter (average annual PM2.5 in the range 6 to 114 μg/m3) on the risk of developing membranous nephropathy (MN), an immune disorder of the kidneys that can lead to kidney failure. Results showed that MN increased 13% over in the eleven year period.


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How Does Exposure to Air Pollution Vary by Race, Age and Location?

Factors influencing time-location patterns and their impact on estimates of exposure: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air) (8 page pdf, Elizabeth W. Spalt, Cynthia L. Curl, Ryan W. Allen, Martin Cohen, Kayleen Williams, Jana A. Hirsch, Sara D. Adar and Joel D. Kaufman, Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, Apr. 29, 2015)

Today we review research that looked into the factors that affect long term exposure to air pollution and its impacts on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and how these compare to assumptions made in promulgating standards such as by the EPA in the USA. These factors include racial origins, time spent indoors and outdoors and age. Results indicate that Chinese spend more time indoors (3 hours more than whites for example) and that standards overestimate air pollution predictions.

English: Smog and air pollution in Pasadena Hi...

English: Smog and air pollution in Pasadena Highway, downtown Los Angeles فارسی: آلودگی شدید هوا در بزرگراه پاسادنا، مرکز شهر لس آنجلس (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Air Pollution – a Leading Risk Factor for Strokes

Global burden of stroke and risk factors in 188 countries, during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (Abstract, Valery L Feigin, Gregory A Roth, Mohsen Naghavi, Priya Parmar, Rita Krishnamurthi, Sumeet Chugh,George A Mensah, Bo Norrving, Ivy Shiue, Marie Ng, Kara Estep, Kelly Cercy, Christopher J L Murray, Mohammad H Forouzanfar, The Lancet, Jun. 9, 2016)

Also discussed here: For the first time, air pollution emerges as a leading risk factor for stroke worldwide (Science Daily, Jun. 9, 2016)

Today we review research into 17 risk factors for stroke which affects 15 million people each year though death (6 million) or permanently disability (5 million) or other impacts. The risk of strokes from environmental air pollution (PM2.5) has increased by 33% from 1990 to 2003. The research showed that indoor and outdoor air pollution was responsible for 30% of strokes and made this the largest risk factor. Action by governments to tax high risk factors (such as salt, sugar and tobacco) and for public health to treat high blood pressure are seen as effective ways to reduce strokes.

strokes and ap

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What is the Impact of Air Pollution on the World- Present and Future?

The Economic Consequences of Outdoor Air Pollution (20 page pdf, OECD, Jun. 9. 2016)

Also discussed here: Air pollution to cause 6-9 million premature deaths and cost 1% GDP by 2060 (OECD Press Release, , Jun. 9. 2016)

Today we review a report from the OECD which estimates the impact of air pollution in terms of economic costs and on health costs and premature lives lost. Global costs are expected to rise from $21B in 2015 to $176B in 2060 (in constant 2010 dollars). The number of lost sick days which affects productivity is expected to rise from 1.2 B to 3.7 B in 2060. The number of premature deaths due to outdoor air pollution is expected to rise from 3 million in 2015 to 6-9 million in 2060. Policies to address this include incentives aimed at technology to reduce vehicle emissions, the implementation of improved air quality standards and introduction of emission/congestion/road pricing. The highest per capita costs are found in China, followed by Korea, Eastern Europe and the Caspian region and this is also where premature deaths per capita are highest.

oecd impacts

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