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Endocrine disrupting chemicals may lead to billions of euros in health care costs in Europe

A new research of the Utrecht University presents the socio-economic costs of EDC-associated diseases.

15.04.2016 |

Utrecht, 14 April 2016 -  The Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) of the Utrecht University has performed a meta-analysis of available information on socio-economic costs in Europe that are associated with exposure to EDCs. According to currently available literature, the socio-economic burden of EDC-associated health effects for the EU ranges between € 46 – 288 billion per year. The report published today was commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and prepared under guidance of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). “Clearly, we need to reduce exposure to EDCs and focus our research efforts”, state Ingrid Rijk, Majorie van Duursen and Martin van den Berg, authors of the report.

The report lists over 80 diseases that are associated to EDC exposure in existing literature. Uncertainties concerning the causal link between health effects and EDCs were not a focus of the present report. For 13 EDC-associated diseases, cost estimates were previously published. Furthermore, this report has added cost estimates on neural tube defects, endometriosis and asthma. The highest cost of EDC-associated health effects arise from neurobehavioral effects, such as AD(H)D and autism, and metabolic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. The authors conclude that costs for immune-related diseases have not been sufficiently quantified yet. “This clearly needs further attention,” says Van den Berg. “Especially considering the increasing incidence in immunological diseases, such as allergies, and probable contribution of EDCs in these disease etiologies."

The authors acknowledge that the cost estimates should be interpreted with care considering the uncertainties with respect to causality with EDCs and different methodologies to calculate health-related costs. Still, not all EDC-associated health effects have been or can be quantified. In this report, a modular approach is introduced that can provide a method to include additional calculations of potential socio-economic cost and be used to add relevant information on EDC-related diseases.

"The socio-economic costs due to EDCs may be substantial”, concludes Van den Berg, “this report should help prioritization of further areas for research and actions on EDCs."

The full report can be downloaded from the IRAS website ( or directly accessed (

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