Obesity, diabetes, and associated costs of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the European Union

Juliette Legler, Tony Fletcher, Eva Govarts, Miquel Porta, Bruce Blumberg, Jerrold J. Heindel, Leonardo Trasande

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163 Citations (Scopus)


Copyright © 2015 by the Endocrine Society. Context: Obesityanddiabetes are epidemic in the European Union(EU). Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is increasingly recognized as a contributor, independent of diet and physical activity. Objective: The objective was to estimate obesity, diabetes, and associated costs that can be reasonably attributed to EDC exposures in the EU. Design: An expert panel evaluated evidence for probability of causation using weight-of-evidence characterization adapted from that applied by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Exposureresponse relationships and reference levels were evaluated for relevant EDCs, and biomarker data were organized from peer-reviewed studies to represent European exposure and burden of disease. Cost estimationas of2010utilized published cost estimates for childhood obesity, adult obesity, and adult diabetes. Setting, Patients and Participants, and Intervention: Cost estimation was performed from the societal perspective. Results: The panel identified a 40% to 69% probability of dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene causing 1555 cases of overweight atage10 (sensitivity analysis: 1555-5463) in 2010 with associated costs of£24.6 million (sensitivity analysis:£24.6-86.4 million). A 20% to 39% probability was identified for dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene causing 28 200 cases of adult diabetes (sensitivity analysis: 28 200-56 400) with associated costs of£835million (sensitivity analysis:£835million-16.6 billion).Thepanel also identifieda40%to69% probability of phthalate exposure causing 53 900 cases of obesity in older women and £15.6 billion in associated costs. Phthalate exposure was also found to have a 40% to 69% probability of causing 20 500 new-onset cases of diabetes in older women with £607 million in associated costs. Prenatal bisphenol A exposure was identified to have a 20% to 69% probability of causing 42 400 cases of childhoodobesity, with associated lifetime costs of £1.54 billion. Conclusions: EDC exposures in the EU contribute substantially to obesity and diabetes, with a moderate probability of >£18 billion costs per year. This is a conservative estimate; the results emphasize the need to control EDC exposures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1278-1288
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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