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duced worker productivity while on the job) and damages that would be reflected only if the accounts were expanded to include household production (e.g., impacts on tennis and jogging). Many of the effects not estimated by EPA, such as those of acid deposition on forest health, freshwater quality, or ecosystem function, would also include effects on both market activities already in the accounts, such as timber or commercial fishing, and nonmarket goods, such as recreation.
Asset effects present greater complexity, as was seen above for the case of forests. Some impacts, such as those on soil or fish farms, would be reflected in the market value of these assets. Others, such as mortality and chronic bronchitis, are long-term effects on human resources. These effects would require adjustments in the asset accounts if a full set of asset accounts for human health and capital were constructed.
One particular concern arises if the accounts are to include the impact of air pollution on human health. The impact of air pollution and other environmental activities on human health is often taken out of the context of other health-related activities. If one were to track environmental trends alone, it might be concluded that until the 1970s, growing environmental problems were leading to a deterioration in the health status of Americans. This conclusion is, in fact, incorrect. Activities outside the environmental arena—including improved sanitation, vaccinations, and public-health measures—led to improved life expectancy over the first seven decades of this century. It would therefore be misleading to enter only a large health negative into a set of augmented income accounts. The positives and negatives in the environmental entry in a set of health accounts would have to be placed in the context of the vast changes in health status of the American population.
Conclusions on Air Quality
The basic finding emerging from the above discussion is that air quality is likely to be a major nonmarket effect. While EPA's estimates of benefits of $1.2 trillion per year due to reduced air pollution are highly uncertain, do not include all effects, and measure a somewhat different concept than would be appropriate for the accounts, it is likely that a realistic assessment of reduced damages due to improved air quality would yield a much larger figure than the $27.1 billion in air pollution control expenditures used by BEA as a placeholder. In the panel's view, no other area of natural-resource and environmental accounting would have as great an impact as the potential correction from air quality. The magnitude of this impact indicates that the development of supplemental accounts for air quality is a high priority. Indeed, the overall review of