To live a healthy lifestyle the obvious protocols come to mind like eating a nutrient dense diet, performing an effective exercise routine, and a getting good night’s sleep.
You can see the foods you’re putting in your body and experience the good or not so good after effects.
You can see yourself in a mirror lifting weights and witness the ensuing body transformation.
Much more difficult factors to control are the ones not readily visible – hidden dangers lacking any direct threat but slowly over time destroy your body and mind.
That’s why you should know about the low-level but daily exposure to invisible, hazardous chemicals wreaking havoc on the health of Americans.
And not just our health but our pocket books as well
The Real Costs of Hazardous Chemicals
According to a detailed economic analysis by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center, annual healthcare costs and lost earnings in the United States from these chemicals is now over $340 billion, or more than 2.3% of the country’s GDP.
Chemicals like bisphenol A ((BPA), phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-like polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs disrupt your bodies endocrine system, which is responsible for regulating hormones.
The endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ, and function your body.
It’s the master regulator of your mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, and sexual function and reproductive processes.
Credit: Image courtesy of NYU Langone Medical Center
Lead researcher Leonardo Trasande says their analysis shows yearly exposure to highly toxic fire-resisting PBDE chemicals and pesticides accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total endocrine-disrupting chemical disease burden, and mostly from neurological damage these chemicals cause in the unborn.
Annual PBDE exposure was estimated to account for 11 million lost IQ points in children, an additional 43,000 cases of “intellectual disability,” and an associated disease burden of some $266 billion.
Meanwhile, pesticide exposure was estimated to cost 1.8 million lost IQ points and lead to 7,500 more disability cases each year, with total health costs of $44.7 billion.
Where Hormone Disrupting Chemicals Hide
The chemicals mentioned above like bisphenol A (BPA), is commonly used to line tin food cans like fish, vegetables, and soup.
Phthalates are used to make plastic food containers and various cosmetic products.
Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-like polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDE are found in flame retardants in furniture and packaging.
The dangerous pesticides studied in their research included the chemicals chlorpyrifos and organophosphates.
Senior study investigator Teresa M. Attina, MD, PhD, also of NYU Langone, says there are “safe and simple” steps families can take to limit exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
These include not microwaving food in plastic containers or covered by plastic wrap, and washing plastic food containers by hand instead of putting them in the dishwasher.
She says people can also avoid using plastic containers labeled on the bottom with the numbers 3, 6, or 7 inside the recycle symbol, in which chemicals such as phthalates are used.
Switching to all natural or fragrance-free cosmetics is also an option.
Have you and your family already taken steps to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals found in everyday products?
Are you now considering checking what’s in the products you are currently using?
Attina, T. M., Hauser, R., Sathyanarayana, S., Hunt, P. A., Bourguignon, J., Myers, J. P., . . . Trasande, L. (2016). Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the USA: A population-based disease burden and cost analysis. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology,4(12), 996-1003. doi:10.1016/s2213-8587(16)30275-3