Did you know there are over 80,000 chemicals found in our environment today – including the water we drink, the air we breathe, and even the foods we eat? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 14,000 of these chemicals have never been tested for human toxicity. Below are five ways harmful chemicals are used in daily products and what you can do to reduce your exposure.
1. Damage to the Respiratory Organs
According to Princeton, gases, vapors, particles, and aerosols enter the body through the respiratory system, the most common entrance point (smoke, mists, and fumes).
High concentrations in the air cause increased exposure in the lungs and more significant absorption in the circulation, and vapor pressure measures how quickly a chemical evaporates into the air and how high its concentration in the air can reach.
When exposed to high concentrations or for an extended period, some chemicals might cause olfactory tiredness. Overexposure can cause headaches, a buildup of mucus in the respiratory tract, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.
Many solvents, in particular, can cause narcotic symptoms such as disorientation, dizziness, drowsiness, or even collapse if used in large quantities. In the event of exposure, increase ventilation by closing containers or in some other way and seek out fresh air. If the symptoms don’t go away, see a doctor.
2. Can Burn the Skin
Chemicals are harmful to your skin, and you should always wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after being exposed to them. It is not a good idea to wipe the chemical away, as this could spread the chemical to other areas of your body.
Some chemicals may damage your skin for a long time, so you should never touch any part of your body after contacting them. If you accidentally contact any contaminated water, you should avoid touching your skin.
If you have been exposed to a chemical, you should first flush the area with as much clean water as possible and then go to the doctor. A doctor can determine whether you need medical attention and what to do next. If you’re a parent, you should contact the poison control center and get medical help as soon as possible.
Harmful chemicals can increase your risk of cancer if you are exposed to toxins in the environment, at home, or at work. Benzene, beryllium, asbestos, vinyl chloride, and arsenic are all recognized human carcinogens, which means they have been shown to cause cancer in humans.
Depending on the quantity, how long, how frequently, and when these chemicals are inhaled, a person’s risk of developing cancer increases.
One way to avoid this over-exposure to this kind of harmful chemicals is by wearing the proper equipment which protects those who constantly work with these toxic chemicals. This was one thing that New Process Gear, an automotive manufacturer in Syracuse, New York, did not warn their employees to do. As a result, many were exposed to deadly asbestos fibers.
4. Can Increase Birth Defect
Many people have no idea that environmental chemicals can cause congenital disabilities, but this is a growing concern. More than eighty percent of all congenital disabilities can be attributed to environmental contaminants.
There are more than four million chemicals in use in the U.S. alone. Some of these are known teratogens, which are those substances that are linked to congenital disabilities. As an employer, you are liable for protecting your employees from these toxins.
Pregnant women can protect their unborn children by limiting their exposure to various chemicals. Some chemicals can harm a baby only at very high concentrations, while others are toxic at low levels. The most unpredictable and damaging effects come from multiple chemical exposures.
5. Decrease Bone Density
Exposure to environmental chemicals has been linked to a decrease in bone density. Several studies have shown that exposure to phthalates can adversely affect human bone health. These chemical compounds affect the balance of minerals in our bodies and affect bone mineral density.
In addition, phthalates can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Ultimately, these findings point to a need for more research to better understand the role of these chemicals in our health.
If you suspect that the chemicals you are exposed to are causing you or those around you to have brittle bones, you need to see a doctor immediately.
Researchers are constantly revealing the harmful effects of harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, potentially harmful chemicals are in many things, and it is not always simple to avoid them. The best we can do is try to avoid them whenever possible and when you come into contact with them, make sure that you keep the amounts to a minimum however possible.