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Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2009 Dec;52(12):1166-78. doi: 10.1007/s00103-009-0970-x.

[Epidemiological research on environmental health risks and their economic consequences].

[Article in German]

Author information

1
Helmholtz Zentrum München, Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH), Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764, Neuherberg, Deutschland.

Abstract

In environmental health research, methods for quantitative analysis of human population studies data are gaining importance. In recent years, it has been realized that they can also provide an important link to the economic view on environmental health effects. In this review, fundamental concepts and methods from environmental epidemiology and health economics are presented and it is shown how they can be linked in order to support environmental policy decisions. In addition, the characteristics of environmental epidemiology and the role of epidemiologic studies in risk assessment are discussed. From the economic point of view, cost-of-illness studies and cost effectiveness studies are the main approaches, and we have placed special focus on methods of monetary valuation of health effects that are generally proposed in the environmental context. Two conceptually differing strategies to combine epidemiologic and economic evidence are presented: the environmental attributable fraction model as a top-down approach and the impact pathway approach which follows a bottom-up analysis strategy. Finally, two examples are used to illustrate the application of these concepts and methods: health risks caused by fine particle air pollution and their costs, and the cost-effectiveness of radon exposure reduction policies.

PMID:
19921497
DOI:
10.1007/s00103-009-0970-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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