The cost of chemicals and toxins is difficult to calculate — given both the direct and indirect effect they can have on people and the environment. But a new study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has come up with the cost of healthcare required for just two common endocrine disruptors for the European Union, and it’s staggering: $1.58 billion a year! Researchers looked at the links between phthalates and DDE ( a breakdown product of DDT that is still present in the environment despite a ban since the 1970s in Europe and the U.S.) and two of the most common female reproductive conditions, fibroids and endometriosis. These conditions can have mounting, long-term costs ranging from extra doctor’s visits and medications to emergency room visits to surgery. The estimated figures from the study don’t even take into account the costs associated with infertility (a common result from these conditions) or other health related issues that might occur during a woman’s lifetime. The study focused on the European Union so its numbers don’t necessarily reflect the cost in the United States, but as a reference for how common these conditions are in this country: 200,000 women get hysterectomies each year to treat fibroids with an additional 400,000 hysterectomies attributed to endometriosis. The study focused on two chemicals that have yet to be regulated or restricted — in the case of DDE, there is no way to restrict it. The study’s authors, however, hope that the findings lead to legislation in both the U.S. and Europe towards limiting endocrine-disrupting chemicals when possible. Although BPA was not included in this study, it has also been linked with endometriosis.
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