The plastic pandemic takes a $249 billion toll on health every year

By ChemSec | February 12, 2024

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"The world cranks out a staggering 430 million metric tons of new plastics each year, and there’s no sign of this production frenzy slowing down. Plastics have permeated every corner of our lives. Microplastics have infiltrated our bodies, and our surroundings are drowning in the material. Disturbingly, experts predict that by 2050, our expansive oceans could contain more plastic than fish.

Plastics also imply a lot of social costs. A new study — published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society — now estimates that plastic-related exposures cost the US Government $249 billion in health costs in 2018. This figure accounts for the direct and indirect health costs linked to the production, use, and disposal of plastic materials. These costs include medical expenses, productivity losses due to illness, and the societal impact of various health conditions.

The numbers presented in the study echo the findings of the Minderoo Foundation report from 2022, which states that plastic pollution and the chemicals added to plastics cost society billions of dollars every year. The UN Environment Programme has similarly projected the social and economic costs of global plastic pollution to reach up to as much as $600 billion per year."