How costly is it to improve air quality in Houston?

Air pollution can be costly in terms of expenses for increased health care and property damage, as well as less tangible costs, such as decreased property values and diminished quality of life. Some of these costs are paid directly by individuals or businesses, and some are paid indirectly through insurance and decreased productivity.

Air pollution control measures are costly in terms of expenditures for installation, operation, maintenance, monitoring, and recordkeeping. Some of these expenditures are paid directly by individuals or businesses, and some are paid indirectly through increased costs of consumer products and loss of business opportunities. Some of these expenditures may be offset by the recovery of product or by the creation of business opportunities in the development and implementation of air pollution control systems.

Although the Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to review the ozone standard every five years, cost cannot be used as a consideration when evaluating or setting a new air pollution standard. It is difficult to quantify the total costs of health care, property damage, quality of life impacts and air quality control measures across the Houston region.

For information on the potential cost of the newer 2015 ozone standard, read the blog entry “The Clean Air Act and EPA’s New Ozone Standard: How Much Will It Cost?