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Abstract - We estimated PM2.5-related public health impacts/ton emitted of primary PM2.5, SO2, and NOx for a set of power plants in the Mid-Atlantic and Lower Great Lakes regions of the United States, selected to include varying emission profiles and broad geographic representation. We then developed a regression model explaining variability in impacts per ton emitted using the population distributions around each plant. We linked outputs from the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model v 4.7.1 with census data and concentration–response functions for PM2.5-related mortality, and monetized health estimates using the value-of-statistical-life. The median impacts for the final set of plants were $130,000/ton for primary PM2.5 (range: $22,000–230,000), $28,000/ton for SO2 (range: $19,000–33,000), and $16,000/ton for NOx (range: $7100–26,000). Impacts of NOx were a median of 34% (range: 20%–75%) from ammonium nitrate and 66% (range: 25%–79%) from ammonium sulfate. The latter pathway is likely from NOx enhancing atmospheric oxidative capacity and amplifying sulfate formation, and is often excluded. Our regression models explained most of the variation in impact/ton estimates using basic population covariates, and can aid in estimating impacts averted from interventions such as pollution controls, alternative energy installations, or demand-side management.
Buonocore, J. J., X. Dong, J. D. Spengler, J. S. Fu, & J. I. Levy (2014) Using the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model to estimate public health impacts of PM2.5 from individual power plants, Environment International 68:200-208.