Health benefits and costs of filtration interventions that reduce indoor exposure to PM2.5 during wildfires
Increases in hospital admissions and deaths are associated with increases in outdoor air particles during wildfires. This analysis estimates the health benefits expected if interventions had improved particle filtration in homes in Southern California during a 10-day period of wildfire smoke exposure. Economic benefits and intervention costs are also estimated. The six interventions implemented in all affected houses are projected to prevent 11% to 63% of the hospital admissions and 7% to 39% of the deaths attributable to wildfire particles. The fraction of the population with an admission attributable to wildfire smoke is small, thus, the costs of interventions in all homes far exceeds the economic benefits of reduced hospital admissions. However, the estimated economic value of the prevented deaths exceed or far exceed intervention costs for interventions that do not use portable air cleaners. For the interventions with portable air cleaner use, mortality-related economic benefits exceed intervention costs as long as the cost of the air cleaners, which have a multi-year life, are not attributed to the short wildfire period. Cost effectiveness is improved by intervening only in the homes of the elderly who experience most of the health effects of particles from wildfires.