Thursday, May 05, 2011

What's the cost of pollution on the health of kids?

More than $76 billion in health damage every year, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

Please note link here: http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2011/05/04/environmental-illness-in-children-costs-76-6-billion-annually/

This new study is a strong argument in favor of new EPA standards to reduce toxic mercury and particulate pollution from coal-fired power plants. It is strong evidence that Congress should reject delaying tactics – such as the pro-coal pollution legislation drafted by American Electric Power and the polluter-sponsored legislation being massaged by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY). It is also a reminder that polluter payoffs to politicians can harm kids.

The new study compares pollution-related impacts on children in 2008 and 1997.

The scientists “found that diminished exposure [in recent years] to lead and reductions in costs for asthma care were offset by diseases newly identified as environmentally induced, including attention deficit disorder, and the added burden of mercury exposure. This toxic metal, from contaminated fish and coal-fired power plants, can harm the developing brain and is associated with intellectual disability.
Key findings from the study:
• Lead poisoning cost $50.9 billion.
• Autism cost $7.9 billion.
• Intellectual disability cost $5.4 billion.
• Exposure to mercury (methyl mercury) cost $5.1 billion.
• Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cost $5.0 billion.
• Asthma cost $2.2 billion.
• Childhood cancer cost $95.0 million.
[Scientists] Trasande and Liu call for further reductions in lead-based paint hazards to protect children from lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development, and tighter air quality standards to curb mercury emissions and reduce particulates that can trigger asthma.


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