The Benefits of Contaminated Site Cleanup Revisited: The Case of Naples and Caserta, Italy
Guerriero and Cairns (2009) recently estimate that contaminated sites and improper waste management result in 848 excess deaths per year in the provinces of Naples and Caserta in Southern Italy, 403 of which are fatal cancers. In the absence of estimates of the Value of a Prevented Fatality (VPF) in Italy or specific to the hazardous waste context, they use figures recommended by DG-Environment. Contrary to their claims, estimates of the VPF are available for Italy that are specific to the hazardous waste context, and for causes of death that have been linked to contaminated site exposures. We review them in this paper. We also produce new estimates of the cancer VPF using data from a recent survey conducted in Milan, Italy, in late November to mid-December 2008. The evidence points to much higher VPF figures than the ones used by Guerriero and Cairns, and hence to much larger estimates of the reduced mortality benefits of remediating the hazardous waste in the Naples and Caserta areas. We also examine the importance of the discount rates, since the mortality benefits of remediation begin in 20 years and are assumed to continue over 30 years.
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