Does Animal Feeding Operation Pollution Hurt Public Health? A National Longitudinal Study of Health Externalities Identified by Geographic Shifts in Livestock Production
Posted: 17 Jan 2009
The Environmental Protection Agency is currently gathering data to regulate livestock facilities under the Clean Air Act, legislation that purports to protect public health. To set rational policy, estimates of health externalities associated with livestock farming are necessary. This study uses geographic shifts in the industry to measure the impact of pollution on infant health. The article finds that a doubling of production leads to a 7.4% increase in infant mortality. This finding is robust with respect to the inclusion of multiple fixed and time-varying controls. The mortality increases are driven by elevated levels of respiratory diseases, providing suggestive evidence of an air pollution mechanism.
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