Federal agencies have raised their calculations of what a human life is worth in actual dollars, forcing businesses to spend more on worker and consumer safety, The New York Times reports
. The estimates vary widely from agency to agency, but the official minimum amount required to prevent a single death looks set to keep on climbing in almost every case.
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency gave life a big raise to $9.1 million, from $6.8 million during the George W. Bush administration, to justify new air-pollution controls.
The Food and Drug Administration says a life now is worth $7.9 million, compared with $5 million in 2008, and the higher valuation will be used to pay for new cancer warnings on cigarette packages.
“But some industry representatives said assigning a value to life was inherently subjective, and that the recent changes were driven by the administration’s pursuit of its regulatory agenda rather than scientific considerations,” the Times reports.
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