For several years we’ve been posting about the grave health dangers posed by the flood of chemicals we’ve poured into our world, particularly compounds capable of mimicking natural chemicals critical to our welfare and manufactured by the body’s endocrine system.
These s-called endocrine disruptors have been linked to a whole host of afflictions, ranging from cancer and obesity to ADHD and fetal abnormalities and social isolation.
And now, for the first time, comes a report detailed the huge financial costs these chemicals are imposing on our already staggered healthcare system.
From New York Universit’s Langone Medical Center:
Annual healthcare costs and lost earnings in the United States from low-level but daily exposure to hazardous chemicals commonly found in plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides, exceeds $340 billion, according to a detailed economic analysis by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center.
The investigators who performed the calculations say the massive toll from everyday contact with endocrine-disrupting chemicals amounts to more than 2.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Included in the team’s analysis, described online [$31.50 to read] October 17 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, are estimated costs from more than 15 medical conditions linked by previous research to toxic levels of these chemicals. Scientists say chemical exposure occurs through gradual ingestion and buildup of these toxins as consumer products are used and break down.
According to researchers, endocrine-disrupting chemicals have for decades been known to pose a danger to human health because the compounds can interfere with natural hormone function. Such chemicals include bisphenol A (BPA), commonly used to line tin food cans; phthalates, used in the manufacture of plastic food containers and many cosmetics; polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-like polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, found in flame retardants in furniture and packaging; and pesticides, such as chlorpyrifos and organophosphates.
However, the researchers say their new analysis, which took three years to complete, is the first U.S. assessment of the costs associated with routine endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure and resulting increases not only in rates of neurological and behavioral disorders, but also in rates of male infertility, birth defects, endometriosis, obesity, diabetes, and some cancers, as well as diminished IQ scores.
More, including a video report, after the jump. . . Continue reading