Three studies published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism have sought to quantify “the burden of disease and associated costs attributable to EDC [endocrine-disrupting chemical] exposures in the European Union.” Supported by the Endocrine Society, the research responds, in part, to the EU Commission’s request for an impact assessment that addresses the economic implications of restricting, phasing out or authorizing certain EDCs.
To this end, the studies discuss the costs associated with EDCs and their alleged link to obesity and diabetes, male reproductive disorders, and neurobehavioral deficits and diseases. Using “the midpoint of each range for probability of causation” by EDCs, a fourth paper estimates the overall median cost of these diseases and disorders at $209 billion annually in Europe. “The primary finding of this manuscript is that there is a substantial probability of very high disease costs across the life span associated with EDC exposure in the EU,” note the authors. “Thus, regulatory action to limit exposure to the most widely prevalent and potentially hazardous EDCs is likely to produce substantial economic benefits.”
In addition, the researchers argue that their approach “will potentially transform decision-making in environmental health by providing a new model for evaluating environmental health risks.” This methodology apparently seeks to account for “the substantial uncertainty in EDC-disease relationships” while still providing “a complete assessment of potential costs of failing to prevent chronic disease through the use of safer alternatives to EDCs.”
“It produces substantial insights regarding the strength of the epidemiological and toxicological data, placing them alongside the cost of the disease as never done before,” states the summary paper. “This approach also documents data gaps in both the epidemiology and toxicology of EDCs, which has only been documented through systematic reviews.”