Chemicals causing billions in damage to human health in Europe | 2015-03-06 | daily-sun.com

Chemicals causing billions in damage to human health in Europe

    6th March, 2015 06:47:03 printer

Chemicals causing billions in damage to human health in Europe

Common chemicals that disrupt human hormones could be costing more than €150bn ($165.4bn; £108.5bn) a year in damage to human health in Europe, a series of studies claims.
The data suggests the high economic impact of chemicals in pesticides, plastics and flame retardants.
The team, led by New York University, said the estimates were conservative.
However, experts cautioned the findings were "informed speculation" and called for more detailed research.
The data was presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrinology Society.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can be physically similar to the hormones that naturally control our body's physiology so mimic their function. They can also block the function of hormones.
They have been linked with declining sperm counts, some cancers, impaired intelligence, obesity and diabetes. The main concern surrounds their impact during early development.
The authors of the study argued that limiting exposure would have significant benefits.
'There is uncertainty'
In the EU, one of the most famous disrupting chemicals, bisphenol A (BPA), has been banned in baby bottles and children's toys.
Yet the European Commission says the relationship between EDCs is not clear and has called for more detailed studies.
Many of the conditions linked to EDCs are also influenced by a wide range of other environmental influences. And some scientists contest the levels in the environment are not high enough to influence health.
The international research team acknowledge "there is uncertainty" and adapted techniques used by the International Panel on Climate Change to balance the uncertainty with the potential scale of the impact.
Their mathematical models suggested that across the 27 members of the EU, the most likely cost was €157bn ($173bn; £113.6bn) a year, but could be much higher. That equates to 1.2% of Europe's GDP.
This included healthcare costs as well as lost economic potential.
Their calculations said it was more than 99% certain that at least one of the chemicals was indeed having an impact on health.
The major economic impact was from pesticides (€120bn; $132.3bn; £86.8bn), followed by chemicals found in plastics (€26bn; $28.7bn; £18.8bn) and flame retardants (€9bn; $9.9bn; £6.5bn).
Dr Leonardo Trasande, a paediatrician at the New York University school of medicine, told the BBC: "These results suggest that regulating endocrine disrupting chemicals could produce substantial economic benefit that would be less than the cost of implementing safer alternatives and produce net economic benefits.
"Clearly we need further research, but there is a greater than 99% probability that these chemicals contribute to disease."
 


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