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Uncertainties Influencing Health-Based Prioritization of Ozone Abatement Options

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journal contribution
posted on 15.09.2011, 00:00 by Antara Digar, Daniel S. Cohan, Michelle L. Bell
The primary goal of air quality management is protection of human health. Therefore, formulation of ground-level ozone mitigation policies could be informed by considering not just attainment of regulatory standards but also how control measures benefit public health. However, evaluation of health impacts is complicated by uncertainties associated with photochemical modeling and epidemiological studies. This study demonstrates methods to characterize uncertainties influencing health-benefits estimation of ozone reduction (averted premature mortalities due to short-term exposure) in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) region. Uncertainty in photochemical modeling and the selection of temporal metric (duration of ozone exposure) for concentration–response relationships can each affect the health-based prioritization of ozone control options. For example, deterministic results (neglecting uncertainties) based on 8-h daily maximum ozone reduction shows DFW anthropogenic NOx controls to yield 9.23 times as much benefit per ton as VOC controls. However, the rankings reverse under 5.7% of the cases (including 2.8% cases that exhibit incremental mortalities due to NOX control) when uncertainties in the photochemical model are considered. Evaluated ozone exposure on a 24-h rather than an 8-h basis also reverses the rankings.