Skip to main content

Billions in health savings possible with safer chemicals, report

A new report from Europe today finds exposure to food and everyday electronic, cosmetic and plastic products containing hormone disrupting chemicals (also called endocrine disrupting chemicals – EDCs) may be costing up to €31 billion ($42 billion) per year in the European Union (EU). The report is authored by the European Health and Environment Alliance.

It comes just a few weeks after Kaiser, the number three health company in the U.S., made a momentous decision to phase out toxic flame retardants that are in most couches on the market. Kaiser reasoned that providing a healthy environment for its patients and employees was the right thing to do, and it would save money.  The EU report today provides further proof Kaiser made the right call. The decision is a big deal because Kaiser is leveraging its size to expand the demand for safer furnishings – to the tune of $30 million a year. All of us will benefit, and the market will take a step toward more sustainable furniture.

A Chicago Tribune award winning investigative series from 2012 discredited the years-long campaign of lies and deception by the chemical industry to portray the toxic flame retardant chemicals as life saving. The Tribune found the flame retardants are largely ineffective in slowing fires, and they contribute to cancer, disrupt hormones, and are linked to reproductive diseases and birth defects. In essence, they are all downside, no upside.

The industry remains shameless though. It issued a press release this week continuing to assert the toxic chemicals are “life saving.” They’ve lost all credibility, and the Kaiser decision shows the free market is marching on in the right direction.

Decisions like Kaiser’s to use safer products are smart. Not only do we live better, but they save money by reducing  health costs.

What can you do to help move markets and make your home safer? Start by visiting our page on toxic flame retardants to get some handy tips and take action.