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FP6

VERHI CHILDREN Report Summary

Project ID: 6529
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: France

Final Report Summary - VERHI CHILDREN (Valuation of Environment-Related Health Impacts: Accounting for Differences Across Age, Latency and Risk Categories with a Particular Focus on Children)

The small number of economic valuation studies estimating the benefits of pollution-control policies for children's health provides little guidance for environmental policy-making. Indeed, existing values used for monetisation of environmental health impacts focus on adult populations, applying scenarios that often do not match well with environmental settings. As such, there is a concern that the continued use of such estimates may result in misguided policy-making and prioritisation.

The objective of this project was therefore to improve the incorporation of environment-related health impacts for children in environmental policy-making. In addition to methodological contributions to the valuation of environment-related health impacts for children, the work undertaken in the context of the VERHI project was anticipated to contribute to the development of regulatory standards, to policy development, and to risk assessment and communication strategy.

While there is likely to be a significant degree of uncertainty associated with any specific values obtained (whether for adults or children), the ratio of values obtained from a study in which the Value of a statistical life (VSLs) estimated for both adults and children are directly comparable can assist policymakers in their evaluation of policies which affect both populations. In principle, the Marginal rate of substitution (MRS) between the estimated VSL for a child and for an adult can be used to adjust estimated benefits for policy and programmes should the MRS not equal one. However, clearly more research is required, and the results of VERHI represent a contribution to this literature.

The values obtained are, of course, important outcomes from the project. However, there are important and contentious methodological issues which need to be addressed when valuing environmental health impacts differentiated according to risk and individual characteristics. As such, through the preparation of the methodological reviews, the very extensive survey development work, as well as the empirical work itself, it is anticipated that the project will also make a more general contribution to developments in the state-of-the-art in this area. Thus, by providing guidance on how to undertake such studies in the future, the outcomes of the project will be of broader relevance to the research and policy communities.

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Reported by

ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT
PARIS
France
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