A Generalized Framework for CBA of Asbestos Bans with Case Study in Colombia

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Asbestos is a group of fibrous minerals that can cause serious cancers and other negative health effects, usually decades after exposure. While the future health impacts of today’s asbestos use have become clear over the past century, this industrially-valuable substance is still commonly used in many countries for economic reasons, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. We explore a general framework for conducting cost-benefit analysis of banning asbestos on the whole country scale, then apply this framework to the nation of Colombia. Through this case study application, we highlight some of the challenges related to data quality and the need for proxy methods to estimate important CBA components in data-limited environments. Our analyses indicate that a full ban on asbestos would result in a net benefit for Colombian society and economy, with the value of health benefits dependent upon the details of the selected policy alternative. While avoided health impacts comprise much of the evaluated benefits, significant financial benefits would likely also result, though these would be concentrated among producers of asbestos substitute products. The limitations of our model and available data suggest that more clearly quantifying the link between national asbestos trade values, occupational exposures, and society-wide disease incidence would be a valuable area of future research to prioritize. The general framework and our sensitivity analysis of the applied case study model highlight important areas for future research and data collection efforts to improve future CBA of asbestos bans.





Gerbode, Christine, Guangji Sun, Ai Wang and Xuhao Wang (2019). A Generalized Framework for CBA of Asbestos Bans with Case Study in Colombia. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18442.

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.