Toxic chemicals tied to $340 billion in U.S. health costs and lost wages

Toxic chemicals tied to $340 billion in U.S. health costs and lost wages

Chemicals found in plastic bottles, flame retardants, metal food cans, detergents, cosmetics and pesticides cost the U.S. more than $340 billion a year in health costs and lost earnings, a new study estimates.

That’s more than twice the annual estimated cost of $163 billion in the European Union, where regulations may limit exposure to some of these chemicals, researchers note in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

The chemicals in question are known as endocrine disruptors because they can interfere with the body’s endocrine, or hormone, system and produce negative developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects.

Absent changes in regulations, there’s still plenty people can do to limit their exposure to the chemicals, Trasande noted.

“These include eating organic foods, avoiding microwaving food in plastic containers, limiting canned food consumption, and washing plastic food containers by hand instead of putting them in the dishwasher,” Trasande said.

“People can also avoid using plastic containers labeled on the bottom with the numbers 3, 6 or 7 inside the recycle symbol, in which chemicals such as phthalates are used,” he said. “Switching to “all natural” or “fragrance-free” cosmetics can also reduce exposure.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/1KTihJx The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, online October 17, 2016.

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