From: Robina Suwol
Date: 04 Jun 2002
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
CHILDHOOD DISEASES OF ENVIRONMENTAL ORIGIN
MOUNT SINAI STUDY FINDS AMERICANS' PAY MORE THAN $54 BILLION ANNUALLY FOR PEDIATRIC DISEASES LINKED TO ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS RESEARCHERS ESTIMATE HEALTH COSTS FOR LEAD POISONING, ASTHMA, CHILDHOOD CANCER AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES IN AMERICAN CHILDREN
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, May 31, 2002 Childhood diseases of environmental origin cost Americans $54.9 billion annually, according to a new study by scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, released today in Environmental Health Perspectives (www.ehponline.org), the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The total, 2.8 percent of all U.S. healthcare costs, is more than Americans spend on military research, veterans' benefits and health care costs of stroke. The Mount Sinai study, the first to assess the costs of pediatric disease of toxic environmental origin, measured the contribution of environmental pollutants to the incidence, prevalence, mortality and costs of pediatric disease in American children.
"The findings confirm our view that disease of environmental origin cause not only great misery but pose large costs on American children and their families," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, a leading researcher in children's health and head of the Center for Children's Health and the Environment at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The study, supported by a grant from the W. Alton Jones Foundation, defines environmental pollutants as chemical substances of human origin in environmental media - air, food, water, soil, the home and the community.
Using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies, researchers separated the total cost of childhood environmental disease into four categories: $43.4 billion for lead poisoning, $2.0 billion for asthma, $0.3 billion for childhood cancer, and $9.2 billion for neurobehavioral disorders. Costs evaluated included direct medical costs as well as costs related to special schooling, long term care, and diminished lifetime earning capacity. The best estimate of the total costs of disease in American children of toxic environmental origin is $54.9 billion annually, with a range of $48.8 to $64.8 billion.
"The findings from this study show clearly that the nation needs to invest more resources in understanding and preventing disease in children of toxic environmental origin. We need to realign our priorities to protect our nation's future," said Landrigan. The study cites children's exposure to inadequately tested chemicals as part of the cause of the high cost of pediatric disease. The costs are anticipated to increase without increased investment in tracking and surveillance.
The study team was led by Dr. Philip Landrigan with Dr. Clyde B. Schechter of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Jeffrey M. Lipton of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Dr. Marianne C. Fahs of The New School University and Dr. Joel Schwartz of Harvard University School of Public Health. The study was guided by an advisory committee chaired by Professor Kenneth J. Arrow, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at Stanford University and recipient of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Economics. "For the future, we need to invest more resources in research, disease tracking, testing of chemicals, and training the next generation of pediatricians to recognize disease in children of toxic causation,"
Dr. Landrigan said. * * * Mount Sinai School of Medicine Located in Manhattan, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized for ground-breaking clinical and basic-science research, and innovative approaches to medical education. One indication of Mount Sinai's leadership in scientific investigation is its receipt during FY00 of $168 million in public and private research funding, including over $112 million in NIH grants, placing it 22nd among the nation's 125 medical schools.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine is also known for unique educational programs that not only prepare students to be highly skilled care givers, but help them to reach their maximum potential as caring, well-rounded people. Long dedicated to serving its community, the School extends its boundaries to improve health care delivery, educational opportunities and quality of life for residents of East Harlem and surrounding communities. * * *
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