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Chemicals in Plastics: Human health costs

April 18 , 1:00 pm 2:00 pm EDT

In 2022, the UN launched treaty negotiations in Dakar, Senegal, for an internationally legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. Health was not emphasized in the announcement of the treaty process. Yet the proliferation of plastics has produced large-scale consequences for endocrine diseases and dysfunctions.

Plastics are a source of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, commonly known as EDCs. These EDCs include phthalates (used in food packaging), bisphenols (used in can linings), and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS (used in non-stick cooking utensils).

Studies across the globe have documented widespread exposure to EDCs used in plastic materials, and their contribution to infertility and non-communicable diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.  A recent study documented annual health costs of $250 billion/year related to plastics.

In this webinar, Dr. Leonardo Trasande will discuss research using data from the US National Institutes of Health Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program from 1998 to 2022. The study explored associations of 20 phthalate metabolites with gestational age at birth, birthweight, birth length, and birthweight for gestational age z-scores. The researchers also estimated attributable adverse birth outcomes, and the associated costs. 

This webinar will be moderated by Sharyle Patton, Director of Commonweal’s Biomonitoring Resource Center.

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