ID: 2016-053 Cell-free Protein Synthesis for Biosensing Hormone Specific Endocrine Disruptors (see also 2017-044)
Principal Investigator: Brad Bundy
Endocrine disrupting chemicals interfere with the Endocrine system and are associated with the development of cancers, developmental disorders, infertility, obesity, and diabetes. Examples include BPA, pesticides, and many chemicals we interact with every day. Estimates place the cost of exposure to these chemicals at over $340 Billion per year. This technology could facilitate inexpensive at-home or in-field testing of tap water, fruits, vegetables, canned food, and even playground soil to verify safety. This would be a powerful tool in helping prevent exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, especially for infants and children. Currently, BPA-free toys and water containers are sold at a premium; thus there seems to be a market for the mindful caregiver, organic produce producer, and water resource manager.
About the Market:
The increased endocrine disease rates parallels increased production of manufactured chemicals. Global production of plastics grew from 50 million tons in the mid-1970s to nearly 300 million tons today. Similar trends hold for other chemical sources including pesticides, fire retardants, solvents, and surfactants. Sales for the global chemical industry have sharply increased from USD$171 billion in 1970 to over USD$4 trillion in 2013. Human exposure may cause some health effects, such as lower IQ and adult obesity. These effects may lead to lost productivity, disability, or premature death in some people. One source estimated that, within the European Union, this economic effect might have about twice the economic impact as the effects caused by mercury and lead contamination. The socio-economic burden of EDC-associated health effects for the European Union was estimated based on currently available literature and considering the uncertainties with respect to causality with EDCs and corresponding health-related costs to be in the range of €46 billion to €288 billion per year.
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