Modeling Air Pollution and Mortality Risk

HighwaysThe U.S. EPA maintains the Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program (BenMAP) for estimating the health benefits associated with air quality improvements. IEc has supported a variety of EPA efforts to refine and apply BenMAP.  For instance, IEc consultants recently developed a BenMAP module that estimates the mortality impacts of fine particulate matter pollution while accounting for dynamic population changes over time. This population simulation tool, or PopSim, allows the user to perform more sophisticated risk analyses, such as the following:

  • Simulate U.S. population in single year cohorts of age and gender under alternative assumptions about air pollution-related mortality rates;
  • Estimate changes in life years relative to baseline Census mortality rates;
  • Estimate changes in the life expectancy of a population over time;
  • Apply air pollution hazards differentially by cause of death in the U.S.; and
  • Analyze the effect of alternative cessation lag structures on the timing of total mortality and on total life years in the U.S. population.

PopSim’s dynamic life-table modeling approach can improve long-term mortality estimates because it explicitly accounts for the year-to-year cascade of impacts on mortality and population following a change in air quality.  The model is maintained in Microsoft AccessTM databases and underlying calculations are written in Visual Basic code.

IEc has extended this research to develop PopSim-International, a version of PopSim that models dynamic population changes in any of 182 countries globally.

Client U.S. Environmental Protection Agency