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Does remediation save lives? On the cost of cleaning up arsenic-contaminated sites in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2010 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 408, no 16, 3085-3091 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sweden has only just begun remediation of its many contaminated sites, a process that will cost an estimatedSEK 60,000 million (USD 9100 million). Although the risk assessment method, carried out by the SwedishEPA, is driven by health effects, it does not consider actual exposure. Instead, the sites are assessed based ondivergence from guideline values. This paper uses an environmental medicine approach that takes exposureinto account to analyse how cancer risks on and near arsenic-contaminated sites are implicitly valued in theremediation process. The results show that the level of ambition is high. At 23 contaminated sites, the costper life saved varies from SEK 287 million to SEK 1,835,000 million, despite conservative calculations that infact probably underestimate the costs. It is concluded that if environmental health risks are to be reduced,there are probably other areas where economic resources can be used more cost-effectively.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 408, no 16, 3085-3091 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-140851DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.03.042OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-140851DiVA: diva2:384517
Available from: 2011-01-10 Created: 2011-01-10 Last updated: 2011-12-01Bibliographically approved

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