Premature Births From Smog Cost Us $4.3B

A new study shows the massive tolls pollution causes.

By: Nathan Place, The Daily Beast; Originally Published: 3.29.16

Environmental toxins, particularly air pollution, cause women to give birth prematurely. If you’re a soulless plutocrat or Scrooge McDuck, that won’t bother you, but this might: Those births cost the United States $4.3 billion a year.

That figure was calculated by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and it includes all the myriad expenses associated with preterm births—from the extra time and medication taken in hospitals, to the disabilities caused by being born prematurely.

So while it may be expensive to regulate the industries that do the most polluting, it may actually be more expensive to let them keep polluting at their current rate.

“For policymakers,” an author of the study told CBS News, “decisions about regulating air pollution come down to a trade-off between the cost of preventing air pollution and the health and economic benefits of limiting air pollution sources.”

Pollution causes almost 16,000 premature births a year, or about 3 percent of all premature births in the U.S.