A new study analyzing the effects the exposure to toxic chemicals from plastic and other everyday objects has found that they cost the United States over $340 billion per year in health care treatments expenses.
Many common household items such as plastic bottles, cosmetics, metal cans, detergents, pesticides and more contain various toxic chemicals that make Americans sick. The widespread use of these toxic chemicals known as endocrine disruptors has a serious impact not on just individuals who come in contact with them, but on entire US society as a whole.
Researchers such as Leonardo Trasande and his colleagues from the Langone Medical Center at the New York University have taken upon themselves to reveal the full image of the use of these types of chemicals. Their findings were recently published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.
Their study involved the review of the blood sample and urine analyses which documented the existence of the toxic chemicals in participants at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The resulting data let the researchers determine the costs that endocrine disruptors impose on the US. The estimated financial impact was associated in terms of the costs of treatment for any disease caused by the chemicals and the indirect costs from lost earnings and productivity.
The study found that toxic chemicals cost the US at least $340 billion per year. However, this figure should be considerate a conservative estimate as the researchers only took into consideration the cost of five percent of known endocrine disruptors chemicals. They also didn’t quantify any emotional costs such as the suffering associated with any disease.
They compared their findings to those of a similar study in the European Union. It found that the costs of toxic chemicals in EU is limited to $163 billion. The large difference in estimates is attributed to the fact that toxic chemicals have a more widespread use in the US. In the European Union, endocrine disruptors like polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) have been restricted since 2008 and have only caused 3,290 cases of intellectual disability compared to the 43,000 in the US.
According to the researchers, people can limit the exposure to the toxic chemicals by avoiding pesticides at home, eating more organic foods, limiting the use of aluminum cans and overall avoiding products which contain them.