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The cost of inaction

A socioeconomic analysis ofenvironmental and health impacts linked to exposure to PFAS

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PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkylsubstances) are known to be extremely difficult to degrade in the environment and to be bioaccumulative and toxic. Exposure to PFAS is suspected to increase the risk of adverse health effects, such as impacts on the thyroid gland, the liver, fat metabolism and the immune system. This study estimates the socioeconomic costs that may result from impacts on human health and the environment from the use of PFAS. Better awareness of the costs and problems associated with PFAS exposure will assist decision-makers and the general public to make more efficient and timely risk management decisions. Findings indicate that the costs are substantial, with annual health-related costs estimated to 2.8 — 4.6 billion EUR for the Nordic countries and 52 — 84 billion EUR for all EEA countries. Overall non-health costs are estimated at 46 million — 11 billion EUR for the Nordic countries.Upon request the excel spreadsheets used for the monetarisation and valuation in this report can also be provided along with a guidance on how to use the estimation of costs for value transfer. Please contact any of the consultants or members of the steering group from the Swedish Chemicals Agency or the Danish Environmental Protection Agency if you are interested in receiving these excel spreadsheets.

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Conclusions

This study investigates the socioeconomic costs that may result from impacts on human health and the environment from the use of PFAS. Better awareness of the costs and long-term problems associated with PFAS exposure will assist authorities, policy-makers and the general public to consider more effective and efficient risk management. The production of PFAS, manufacture and use of PFAS-containing products, and end-of-life disposal of PFAS have resulted in widespread environmental contamination and human exposure. PFAS have been found in the environment all around the world and almost everyone living in a developed country has one or more PFAS in his/her body.

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