Toxic chemicals in household products linked to $340B in health costs

A new study published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology estimates chemicals found in household products — such as plastic bottles, detergents and flame retardants — cost the U.S. more than $340 billion in annual healthcare fees and lost earnings as a result of illness.

For the study, researchers examined blood samples and urine analyses containing endocrine-disrupting chemicals from Americans participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Endocrine disruptors, often found in household products, interfere with the body's hormone system and cause negative developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects, reports Reuters.

Using this data, researchers estimated the total costs linked to the chemicals — in terms of the direct cost of treatment for people sickened by the chemicals and the indirect costs of lost productivity or earnings associated with not being able to work — and compared the findings to a similar European study.

Researchers estimated the U.S. pays about $340 billion per year as a result of these chemicals, about twice the annual estimated cost in the European Union ($163 million), where stricter regulations may limit people's exposure to the chemicals, the researchers said.

"These findings speak to the large health and economic benefits to regulating endocrine-disrupting chemicals," said Leonardo Trasande, MD, senior study author and researcher at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, according to Reuters.

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