• The Gist: While the EPA may consider life worth less than it used to be, it cautioned that the number should not be used as a price tag for life.
© 2008 The Medical-Legal News
The value of a human life is falling, at least by the Environmental Protection Agency’s reckoning. The current value, $6.9 million is $1 million less than five years ago, according to The Associated Press.
The EPA does not value life similar to the way a life care planner would (such as earning capacity or value to family members as used in wrongful-death suits or insurance calculations), but rather on a cost-risk analysis that people would impose on themselves, according to the AP.
The story said the EPA claims it is following statistical science, though a former EPA official felt that the change in life value was politically motivated. An economist was quoted as saying that as affluence goes up, the price of a life should, too. He noted that no study has shown Americans are less willing to pay to reduce risks than before.
Why the importance? The story said regulations imposed by government agencies are often decided on a cost-benefit scale that takes into account a life’s value, so the less value, the less need for regulations.
A pithy blogger on thinkprogress.org said, “I thought nothing was more valuable than a human life. Maybe they only meant Teri Schiavo.”