Common household chemicals found in a wide range of products from carpets to cleaning products can alter hormones and contribute to type-2 diabetes—likely costing Europeans billions of dollars annually, according to new research.
Scientists behind the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, looked at data from seniors in the Swedish city of Uppsala on how exposure to chemicals known to disrupt the endocrine system, like phthalates, PCBs, pesticides and perfluoroalkyls, contributes to obesity and diabetes. Researchers used those findings to study the effects of chemical exposure on Europeans more broadly.
A 25% reduction in exposure to the chemicals studied would result in a 13% drop in cases of diabetes among seniors, according to the research. That would mean 150,000 fewer cases of diabetes and a savings of nearly $5 billion dollars annually.
The study, led by New York University researcher Leonardo Trasande, joins a growing list of research demonstrating the devastating effects of chemicals humans are exposed to on a daily basis. Endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in a wide array of everyday products including furniture, receipts and canned food, to name a few, and can disrupt many different bodily functions.
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Another paper published by Trasande last week suggests that household chemicals lead to $340 billion annually in treatment and lost productivity in the U.S. That figure is more than $100 billion lower in Europe, in large part to a different regulatory scheme, but significant problems remain.