Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Silent Gameplay of the Chemicals Lurking in and around You

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Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Africa Feeds Staff writers are group of African journalists focused on reporting news about the continent and the rest of the world.

What is the image that comes to your mind when you read the phrase “toxic substances?” The image of a thick cloud of industrial chemicals, or the poisoning of the sea and oceans from pesticides and other chemicals, right?

As a matter of fact, a person will come across many toxic substances without even leaving their home. A chemical that can harm your health when it enters your body is a toxic substance.

Not knowing something does not mean it does not exist. There are a lot of intricacies in your everyday life that you might not actually realize. You have had the complexities of everyday objects hidden from you.

The simplicity of design hides the risks that come with the prolonged use of the products. In general, the goods that you use on a daily basis include trace amounts of toxic substances that have no significant negative effects on our health.

The toxic substances that are present at your workplace pose a greater threat to your well-being. The ill effects of your work environment need to be minimalized. 

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Your Interaction With Toxic Substances

There are two primary ways that toxic substances or entities interact with the human body. These play an important role in ascertaining the potency of the hazardous toxins in question. 

Inhalation

This is the most common way toxic substances enter the human body. Toxic chemical inhalation can cause acute and severe long-term health issues. 

Air toxics may include metals like mercury or persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like DDT. These airborne contaminants pose serious threats as they are long-lasting. They do not easily break down in the environment. They can build up in the tissues of organisms and have long-lasting toxic effects.

Dieldrin is an insecticide that was banned in the U.S. in 1987. It was found to be carcinogenic and has unique endocrine-disrupting properties. The chemical also affects the functions of the immune system and can cause neurological problems. 

The use of DDT was banned by the US in 1972. This compound poses a grave threat to the functioning of the liver. It also damages the nervous system and reduces reproductive success. 

Skin Absorption

Direct contact with the contaminants is another route of exposure to toxins. Cuts or injuries can be a gateway for toxins to enter the bloodstream. 

Dermal exposure (skin exposure) to toxins can occur in a number of occupations like agriculture, manufacturing, and mining. Environmental exposures can take place from swimming in contaminated water or from touching surfaces contaminated with harmful pesticides or biocides.

The level of exposure might range from accidentally having a small amount of a diluted substance on a patch of skin to having to submerge your hands in concentrated solutions.

Per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) play an important role in the production of commodities that withstand heat, oil, stains, and grease.

According to a new analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PFAS exposure can cause a number of serious health issues, including cancer, liver damage, and an increased risk of asthma and thyroid.

Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is used in many fire control operations. The AFFF firefighting foam contains PFAS chemicals that have put the health of many firefighters, industrial workers, and oil workers at risk. 

PFAS chemicals have caused cancers of the liver, colon, pancreas, and kidney, increased cholesterol levels, and decreased vaccine response in children, to name a few. 

Survivors of the ill effects of the AFFF firefighting foam have sued companies like 3M, DuPont, and Chemours. Besides harming the firefighters who come in direct contact with the harmful chemical, AFFF also pollutes the nearby water bodies. According to TorHoerman Law, LLC, the estimated AFFF Lawsuit Settlement Amounts can reach $300,000 or more based on the strength of the case.

Toxins do not have a defined area of action. Their indirect effects manifest in a variety of ways. 

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

To be completely outside the purview of the ill effects of everyday objects is impractical and impossible to a certain degree. You cannot always find a healthier alternative to the products you have been using for so long. 

But as a consumer, you can keep a few simple things in mind the next time you use a product. 

  • Read the instructions VERY CAREFULLY. The how-to-use pointers aim to create a safer environment for you to use the product. 
  • Keep chemicals secure and out of children’s reach. 
  • Label all containers. Do not keep dangerous liquids in used household containers, such as food cans.
  • If you must use a dangerous material, only buy what you need so there is less waste to store or dispose of.
  • Use air filters whenever and wherever necessary. 
  • High-grade water purifiers are mandatory for consuming clean, healthy water.

These few preventive (and corrective) measures can go a long way in building a safe ecosystem around you. 

Conclusion

The world has been trying to keep pace with the rising demands of the ever-rising population. New technologies are born out of necessity. In most cases, much heed is not paid to their long-term implications. 

The need of the hour is that the major players and businesses take ownership of their products and keep their consumers informed about the side effects of their commodities.

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