Tremendous health costs linked to hormone disrupting chemicals

BEUC NEWS - 18.03.2015

An economic analysis has found that endocrine disrupting chemicals likely cost the EU countries billions of euro a year in healthcare expenses and lost earnings.

A new series of peer-reviewed studies published March 5th in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism demonstrate the urgent need for EU policy-makers to better regulate chemicals disruptive to hormonal systems.

Exposure to endocrine disrupters may trigger severe and chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, infertility, hormone related cancers or lead to a lower IQ and neurobehavioral disorders. In associated costs to society, leading scientists estimate €157 billion (1.23% of European GDP) can be attributed to hormone disrupting chemical exposure. This was a conservative calculation, but real costs could be as high as €270 billion, or 2% of GDP.

The Endocrine Society points out that the biggest costs related to IQ detriment and intellectual disabilities caused by chemical exposure of the unborn child, primarily through pesticides containing organophosphates. Adult obesity linked to exposure to phthalates generated the second-highest costs.

For BEUC, these studies are additional evidence of the urgent need for EU action. First, the European Commission should adopt binding criteria on what constitutes an endocrine disruptor. This would be the basis for government action to set limits or ban certain endocrine disrupting substances.

The studies are: