The answer to how much life is worth determines how much spending the government should require to prevent a single death. To protests from business and praise from unions, environmentalists and consumer groups, one agency after another has ratcheted up the price of life, justifying tougher—and more costly—standards. The Environmental Protection Agency set the value of a life at $9.1 million last year in proposing tighter restrictions on air pollution. The agency used numbers as low as $6.8 million during the George W. Bush administration.