Endocrine Disruptors Tied to $300 Billion in Annual U.S. Healthcare Costs — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
October 19, 2016

Endocrine Disruptors Tied to $300 Billion in Annual U.S. Healthcare Costs

By Kelly Young

Edited by Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals may cost the U.S. over 2% of its gross domestic product, suggests an analysis in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Researchers examined 15 established exposure-response relationships between endocrine-disrupting chemicals (such as organophosphate pesticides and flame retardants) and various disorders (e.g., loss of IQ, diabetes, autism). Using 2010 U.S. population and costs, they extrapolated that endocrine disruptors cost the U.S. a median of $340 billion annually. IQ points lost and intellectual disability related to in utero exposure to flame-retardant chemicals was responsible for most of the cost.

The authors write that these are likely underestimates of the financial burden given that only a subset of endocrine-disrupting chemicals and their effects were analyzed.

A commentator says that the research "provides a lesson on the lasting economic effects of harmful chemicals: whether banned long term, currently restricted, or being voluntarily phased out, the precautionary principle of proving chemicals are safe rather than proving their harm might be more financially beneficial."

Reader Comments (1)

William DeMedio Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Private

I would suggest that the number of lives saved from fires and starvation by these molecules vastly outweighs any of the theoretical numbers of risks and money lost mentioned in this article.

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