We find them in every corner of our home and rarely give them a second thought. But a new study suggests that everyday chemicals used in items such as cosmetics, plastics, and detergent – harm our health and cost us billions of dollars.
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.
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.
According to Time Magazine, “The study contributes to a growing debate about how best to assess and manage the safety of common chemicals. Improved regulation could reduce exposure to some of the most damaging chemicals, the report’s authors say. Previous research has shown that Europe—where regulations require manufacturers to prove household chemicals are safe before they hit shelves—loses a significantly smaller share of its GDP as a result of endocrine disrupting diseases than the U.S.”
Fortune Magazine pointed out that the American Chemistry Council, a lobbying group for chemical manufacturers, “criticized the paper for using research that shows links between certain household chemicals and endocrine disruption rather than causation. The paper does “virtually nothing to advance the protection of public health,” the ACC said in a statement.”
However, Reuters News Agency quoted Joseph Allen, a public health researcher at Harvard University, as saying:
“Adults and children in the U.S. carry more industrial chemicals in their bodies than their European counterparts simply due to differences in chemical policies,” Allen said by email.
“In the U.S. our chemical policy largely follows the approach of our legal system – ‘innocent until proven guilty,’” Allen added. “This is appropriate for criminal justice policy but has disastrous consequences for health when used for chemical policy.”
The Reuters report went on to say that short of regulation changes…..there are things we can do to protect ourselves. “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.”
Share your thoughts on this new report. Listening to your feedback and working together with our partners to find new solutions to today’s health care issues – is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!