A new Environmental Protection Agency report states that global warming is likely to increase unhealthy smog pollution that damages lungs.
At the same time, the EPA has determined that the value of a human life is worth about $900,000 less than it had estimated just five years earlier. That means, at $6.9 million per life, the cost-benefit analysis associated with new pollution regulations is likely to weigh the costs more heavily than the benefits.
The findings about smog, "quietly published," according to Reuters, suggest parts of the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and lower Midwest could experience more concentrated ozone, and a longer duration of smog season, due to higher temperatures. That's no surprise, really, since ozone, the main component of smog, forms when pollution fro tailpipes and smokestacks reacts in heat and sunlight.
The findings about the declining value of a human life in the eyes of the EPA weren't publicized at all. They were uncovered by an Associated Press analysis of the EPA calculations that it uses to assess the cost-benefit of environmental regulation.
A recent National Research Council report found, bluntly, that ozone is deadly even at current levels in many areas.
That National Research Council report dealt explicitly with the EPA's mission of protecting human health from environmental pollution, and suggested that the increased health risks associated with ozone may mean that the EPA had undervalued the benefit of reducing pollution.
Now, it seems that the agency is undervaluing human life, as well.
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