Canned food (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ Daniel Case) - Credit: Canned food (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ Daniel Case)
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 - 08:58
Pesticides, BPA cost Dutch society €6 billion in annual health bills
Exposure to hormone disrupting substances, which can be found in everyday products such as pesticides, plastic packaging, BPA or canned goods, annually costs Dutch society 5.8 billion euros. This is according to calculations by leading scientists for the research program Zembla. According to the scientists, these substances are very risky for unborn babies and young children as it could do permanent damage to their development and lead to fertility problems, testicular cancer, breast cancer and obesity in later life. Led by the American pediatrician L. Trasande, international scientists and physicians studied what part hormone disrupting substances have in causing diseases. Trasande concluded that in the Netherlands per year there are 280 extra cases of testicular cancer from exposure to flame retardants, he attributed 7 thousand deaths of men aged 55 to 64 years to plasticizers and 1,500 cases of obesity in children associated with exposure to BPA. The scientists estimated the cost to society based on this data, but expect that the healthcare costs are much higher. "We looked at less than 5 percent of these chemicals. So it's a low estimate", Trasande said. M. van den Berg, professor of toxicology at the University of Utrecht, did a separate study in which he calculates what flame retardants and certain pesticides cost Dutch society. He used a different calculation method and came to similar conclusions "We really are talking about hundreds of millions to billions in damage." According to Zembla, Minister Edith Schippers of Public Health said in a written response that Van den Berg's research is interesting and relevant, but "given all the uncertainties surrounding the extent to which substances may or may not be harmful, it is still to early to draw concrete conclusions".