On June 18, 2014 the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), a European environmental organisation, published a new report estimating health costs in the EU associated with various chronic disease and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Looking at conditions like breast cancer, autism, diabetes, testicular cancer and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the technical report’s authors Dr Alistair Hunt from the University of Bath and Dr Julia Ferguson from Cranfield University calculated overall health costs to range between €636 – 637.1 billion per year in the EU. EDCs are thought to cause around 2.5-5% of these diseases. If overall human exposure to EDCs is significantly reduced, health care costs of up to €31 billion could be saved, according to the authors’ estimate. Exposure sources range from food contact materials (FCMs) to personal care products and other everyday consumer items.
According to the report, for most of the chronic diseases of interest an association between exposure to EDCs and disease onset has been documented in the scientific literature, based on either animal testing or epidemiological data. However, estimating the exact contribution of EDCs to human chronic disease is challenged by the fact that the exact underlying causes of most diseases have so far not been determined. In addition, there is a lack of data for EDC exposures. Nevertheless, HEAL is convinced that significant cost savings will result if overall exposures to EDCs can be reduced. One of the recommended first steps is to review existing EU regulation and introduce measures to limit EDC use, for example in FCMs.
€31 billion per year in EU health savings possible from reducing exposures to hormone disrupting chemicals. Health and Environment Alliance (online June 18, 2014)
Health costs in the European Union. How much is related to EDCs? (pdf) Health and Environmental Alliance (June 18, 2014)