Environmental policy tools and evaluation

The cost of air pollution


Air pollution is the cause of alarming numbers of premature deaths, as well as serious impacts on human health and the environment. (...) Millions of lives will be at risk and economies will be worse off unless more ambitious policy action is taken. The OECD recognises this and urges countries to act. We need better air pollution policies for longer and healthier lives.

- OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurría

The Rising Cost of Ambient Air Pollution thus Far in the 21st Century 

Working paper, July 2017

Results from the BRIICS and the OECD Countries
This paper presents updated results for the cost of ambient air pollution in 41 countries: the 6 major emerging economies known as the BRIICS – Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa – and the 35 member-countries of the OECD. It draws on the epidemiological evidence base assembled in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015, in order to detail results for mortalities from ambient air pollution (AAP) – ambient particulate matter pollution (APMP) and ambient ozone pollution (AOP) – in each of these 41 countries, at successive five-year intervals from 2000 to 2015.


the cost of air pollution in africa

Working paper, September 2016

This paper is a first attempt at calculating the cost of premature deaths attributable to air pollution in Africa. It draws on the epidemiological evidence base assembled in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, in order to detail results for the health impacts of air pollution, and on the economic analyses developed in recent OECD work on the value of statistical life.

In the period from 1990 to the present, and at each succeeding five-year interval in between, the death toll from air pollution in Africa has risen in tandem with the uninterrupted growth in the size of the urban population of Africa over this period. 


The economic consequences of outdoor air pollution 

Report, June 2016

Outdoor air pollution could cause 6 to 9 million premature deaths a year by 2060 and cost 1% of global GDP – around USD 2.6 trillion annually – as a result of sick days, medical bills and reduced agricultural output, unless action is taken, according to a new OECD report.

The Economic Consequences of Air Pollution finds the consequent reduction in global economic output by 2060 will equate to around USD 330 per person, as annual healthcare costs related to air pollution rise to USD 176 billion from USD 21 billion in 2015 and the number of work days lost to air pollution-related illness jumps to 3.7 billion from 1.2 billion.


the cost of air pollution

The Cost of air PollutionReport, May 2014

Outdoor air pollution kills more than 3 million people across the world every year, and causes health problems from asthma to heart disease for many more. This is costing societies very large amounts in terms of the value of lives lost and ill health. Based on extensive new epidemiological evidence since the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study, and OECD estimates of the Value of Statistical Life, this report provides evidence on the health impacts from air pollution and the related economic costs.