Between medical costs and lost productivity for parents, environmental illnesses in children cost $76.6 billion annually, says a new study in Health Affairs. That’s the cost of all illnesses that are correlated with exposure to pollutants and toxins. (Some of the associations are better-documented than others, but many — like lead poisoning, which costs $50.9 billion annually — are well-established.)
What could we get if we weren’t spending that money? Well, you could buy a private island in the Florida keys ($18 million) and sit on it in your diamond-encrusted bra ($3 million), reading your Gutenberg Bible ($35 million) and still have enough money left over to:
- Build a proposed L.A. to San Francisco bullet train ($43 billion);
- Double the 2011 budget investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs ($3.2 billion);
- Build an 800 MW offshore turbine farm ($2.4 billion);
- And buy an electric car for every person in Boston.