In an article published on October 17, 2016 in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Teresa Attina and colleagues from the New York University School of Medicine, U.S., present an analysis of population-based disease burden and costs of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The study mainly focused on several pesticides and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), but also looked at chemicals relevant for food packaging such as bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) and phthalates.
The study used data on EDC exposures and estimated the health care and lost wages costs for 15 EDC-linked medical conditions. In a 2015 study, the disease costs of EDCs in the European Union were estimated to account for 1.28% of the gross domestic product (GDP) (FPF reported). In the U.S., much higher costs (2.33% of GDP) were now estimated. The authors emphasized the legislative differences between the U.S. and the EU, and called for improvements in EDC screening and proactive prevention of EDC-caused disabilities.
The industry group American Chemistry Council (ACC) criticized the new study sharply, accusing it of speculations and claiming that “the authors have cherry-picked studies that show incomplete and inconsistent correlations between exposure to certain chemicals and specific health outcomes.” The lead author of the study, Leonardo Trasande, maintained that the study’s estimates were “on the conservative side,” and included only a fraction of known EDCs along with “significantly discounted” disease numbers. In an article published in Environmental Health News (EHN), Brian Bienkowski further quotes the study’s authors saying that “the cost of required testing is likely to be small when weighed against the $340 billion in costs we have identified as being related to exposure to [EDCs].”
ACC (October 17, 2016). “ACC comments on Lancet paper alleging significant U.S. health care costs from exposure to EDCs.”
Brian Bienkowski (October 17, 2016). “Toxic economy: Common chemicals cost US billions every year.” EHN
Mia De Graaf (October 18, 2016). “The plastic plague: Hormone-disrupting chemicals in everyday things like water bottles DO cause cancer, diabetes, ADHD and autism – and cost US $340 BILLION a year.” Mail Online
Catherine Cooney (October 20, 2016). “Disease burden and costs for EDCs ‘higher in US than EU’.” Chemical Watch
Attina, T. et al. (2016). “Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the USA: a population-based disease burden and cost analysis.” The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (published October 17, 2016).
Trasande, L. et al. (2015). “Estimating burden and disease costs of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the European Union.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 100(4):1245-1255.