Chemical Exposure Linked to Costly Illnesses, Deaths
Illnesses and deaths caused by exposure to toxic chemicals cost California an estimated $2.6 billion annually in medical expenses and lost wages, according to a study released Thursday by UC researchers, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The report was commissioned by the California Environmental Protection Agency and endorsed by 127 researchers at UC campuses and national laboratories in California.
According to the study, more than 200,000 California workers in 2004 suffered from chronic diseases linked to exposure to industrial chemicals. The diseases include cancer, emphysema and Parkinson's disease.
Researchers also found that an additional 4,400 residents died of those diseases.
The illnesses cost businesses, insurers and families $1.4 billion in medical expenses and lost wages, according to the report. An additional 240,000 cases of asthma and other childhood diseases linked to chemical exposure cost the state another $1.2 billion.
Researchers are scheduled to unveil the report's findings to California lawmakers on Friday (Chea, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/17).