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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2386596, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/2386596
Review Article

Valuing the Economic Costs of Allergic Rhinitis, Acute Bronchitis, and Asthma from Exposure to Indoor Dampness and Mold in the US

The Cadmus Group, Inc., 2909 Pierpont St, Alexandria, VA 22302, USA

Received 21 December 2015; Revised 10 March 2016; Accepted 13 April 2016

Academic Editor: Suminori Akiba

Copyright © 2016 David H. Mudarri. 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.

Abstract

Two foundational methods for estimating the total economic burden of disease are cost of illness (COI) and willingness to pay (WTP). WTP measures the full cost to society, but WTP estimates are difficult to compute and rarely available. COI methods are more often used but less likely to reflect full costs. This paper attempts to estimate the full economic cost (2014$) of illnesses resulting from exposure to dampness and mold using COI methods and WTP where the data is available. A limited sensitivity analysis of alternative methods and assumptions demonstrates a wide potential range of estimates. In the final estimates, the total annual cost to society attributable to dampness and mold is estimated to be $3.7 (2.3–4.7) billion for allergic rhinitis, $1.9 (1.1–2.3) billion for acute bronchitis, $15.1 (9.4–20.6) billion for asthma morbidity, and $1.7 (0.4–4.5) billion for asthma mortality. The corresponding costs from all causes, not limited to dampness and mold, using the same approach would be $24.8 billion for allergic rhinitis, $13.5 billion for acute bronchitis, $94.5 billion for asthma morbidity, and $10.8 billion for asthma mortality.