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Report on Cataract Incidence in the United States: Protecting the Ozone Layer Protects Eyesight

EPA Model Gains Ability to Estimate Cataract Cases Avoided

EPA uses the Atmospheric and Health Effects Framework (AHEF) model to estimate skin cancer cases and deaths avoided by protecting the ozone layer. EPA’s peer-reviewed report, released July 30, 2010, shows that AHEF now has the capability to model avoided cataract cases due to the following updates:

AHEF is used to model the health benefits of various policy changes. For example, in the report, EPA used AHEF to estimate the additional avoided cataract incidence by strengthening the original Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer through the Amendments of 1997:

The results modeled two overarching trends when comparing less protective policies for protecting the ozone layer to more protective policies:

The sensitivity analysis found that changing the biological amplification factor (BAF) by skin type and gender was not highly influential. The BAFs-- the dose-response relationship between UV radiation intensity and cataract cases caused --were the greatest source of uncertainty.

More Work Still Needs to be Done

During the next several years, EPA plans additional updates to AHEF to further improve its capabilities:

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