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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 935825, 10 pages
Research Article

A Method to Assess the Potential Effects of Air Pollution Mitigation on Healthcare Costs

1Centre for Applied Health Services Research and Technology Assessment, University of Southern Denmark, J.B. Winsløws Vej 9B, 1, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
2The Danish Institute for Health Services Research, Dampfærgevej 27-29, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
3Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1014 Copenhagen, Denmark
4Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
5National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Øster Farimagsgade 5A, 2, 1353 Copenhagen, Denmark

Received 28 March 2012; Accepted 14 June 2012

Academic Editor: Mahfuzar Rahman

Copyright © 2012 Bjørn Sætterstrøm et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. The aim of this study was to develop a method to assess the potential effects of air pollution mitigation on healthcare costs and to apply this method to assess the potential savings related to a reduction in fine particle matter in Denmark. Methods. The effects of air pollution on health were used to identify “exposed” individuals (i.e., cases). Coronary heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer were considered to be associated with air pollution. We used propensity score matching, two-part estimation, and Lin’s method to estimate healthcare costs. Subsequently, we multiplied the number of saved cases due to mitigation with the healthcare costs to arrive to an expression for healthcare cost savings. Results. The potential cost saving in the healthcare system arising from a modelled reduction in air pollution was estimated at €0.1–2.6 million per 100,000 inhabitants for the four diseases. Conclusion. We have illustrated an application of a method to assess the potential changes in healthcare costs due to a reduction in air pollution. The method relies on a large volume of administrative data and combines a number of established methods for epidemiological analysis.