Damages From Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals Costing Hundreds of Billions Annually


In the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, an international research team has stated that they are “99 percent certain” that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are linked to intellectual disability, autism, ADHD and a host of physical health problems, and that these pollutants ultimately cost the European economy alone about 159 billion euros annually.

The findings emerged from four related papers published simultaneously in the journal.

“The biggest estimated costs, by far, were associated with chemicals’ reported effects on children’s developing brains,” reported National Geographic in an article about the studies. “Numerous studies have linked widely used pesticides and flame retardants to neurological disorders and altered thyroid hormones, which are essential for proper prenatal brain development.” Other damages from EDCs that the researchers examined included obesity, diabetes, and male reproductive disorders.

National Geographic described the findings as just the tip of the iceberg. “The estimate was limited to a handful of chemicals commonly found in human bodies: bisphenol-A (BPA), used in hard plastics, food-can linings, and paper receipts; two phthalates used as plasticizers in vinyl products; DDE, the breakdown product of the banned insecticide DDT; organophosphate pesticides, including one called chlorpyrifos used on grain, fruit, and other crops; and brominated flame retardants known as PBDEs that were extensively used in furniture foams until they were banned in Europe and the United States.”

Representatives of chemical and pesticide-manufacturing companies criticized the findings, reported National Geographic, arguing that there was no proof that the levels of human exposure to EDCs in the environment could cause such health effects.

Chemical Exposure Linked to Billions in Health Care Costs (National Geographic, March 5, 2015)

Trasande, Leonardo, R. Thomas Zoeller, Ulla Hass, Andreas Kortenkamp, Philippe Grandjean, John Peterson Myers, Joseph DiGangi, et al. “Estimating Burden and Disease Costs of Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, March 5, 2015, jc.2014–4324. doi:10.1210/jc.2014-4324. (Abstract)

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals – Four articles (Endocrine Society)


  1. I’ve heard claims that there is a rise in premature births that may also be linked to endocrine disrupting chemicals but it’s really hard to establish a clear link between any given factor and epidemiological outcome.

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