Chemical exposure has become a part of our everyday lifestyle, and humans are exposed to about 700,000 chemicals daily. These harmful chemicals are everywhere, from cleansing and cosmetic products to domestic mold and automobile fumes.
However, some chemicals are chronic. i.e., they harm your body after long-term exposure, and some are acute. i.e., even short-term exposure is bad. These substances include lead, asbestos, mercury, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide. These harmful substances can pollute air, land, and water, causing adverse health effects. Consider the case study of Camp Lejeune drinking water contamination from the 19th century.
It’s believed that nearly a million marines and their families were exposed to Camp Lejeune Base Camp’s toxic water. This long-term exposure resulted in health issues such as congenital disabilities. Drinking/bathing in a contaminated water source isn’t the only way you get exposed to chemicals.
Other routes of exposure in human beings include ingestion (e.g., swallowing), absorption (via eyes/skin), and inhalation. The health effects of chemical exposure depend on the type, duration, and amount of chemical exposure. But it has been observed that seniors, children, pregnant persons, and indigenous people are more vulnerable. So, this article describes some major health effects of chemical exposure you should watch out for today.
Polluted drinking water contributes to nervous issues. Between 1957 and 1987, Camp Lejeune residents were exposed to toxins in higher concentrations. The contaminated water they drank led to different diseases, e.g., Parkinson’s.
However, addressing these Camp Lejeune health issues resulted in the making of the Camp LeJeune Justice Act of 2022. As per the CLJA, Camp Lejeune residents can receive compensation for their suffering. So, you can hire Caml Lejeune lawyers to seek justice for your troubles and afford your treatment.
Different chemicals, such as cyanide (rat poison) and cadmium (old batteries), also damage your nervous system and disrupt your brain function.
Some chemicals you may know as phthalates are found in commonly-used plastics are contribute to cardiovascular problems. Many workplace chemicals are associated with heart diseases, e.g., the methylene chloride in auto-part cleaners or the carbon monoxide in car exhausts.
No wonder industrial workers are 13.8% more likely to develop heart diseases; they’re exposed to a toxin called carbon disulfide. So, wearing PPE, particularly face masks, is important for workers.
Industrial waste often contains polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that harm one’s immune health. Heavy metals, e.g., lead, nickel, mercury, and cadmium, affect the enhancement of a person’s immune system.
Some chemicals can cause autoimmune diseases. A weakened immune system opens the doorway to many other diseases, further disrupting the body’s functioning. That’s why keeping yourself safe from chemical exposure in the workplace is important.
Chemicals such as methylmercury and carbon monoxide can damage one’s reproductive organs. So, it’s been observed that PCBs and PBDEs lead to ADHD, increased DMI, low birth weight in babies, and other neurological problems. Some other results of chemical exposure are infertility and growth/developmental issues.
The influence of lead, nickel, and mercury on the reproductive health of many industrial workers has been observed by medical experts since the 21st century.
Several chemicals, e.g., chlorine and ammonia, harm your respiratory system, especially the lungs. These toxins can cause an intolerable burning sensation in your nose, throat, and windpipe in a few minutes. Moreover, these chemicals can lead to diseases such as chemical pneumonitis.
Many people exposed to asbestos can develop mesothelioma decades later. So, you should ventilate your house properly, remove mold, mildew, and asbestos, and install a powerful HVAC system today.
The renal system comprises the kidney, bladder, and urethra, removing waste products from your body. However, some chemical products lead to kidney damage, e.g., lead, benzene, cadmium, and others. Some pesticides and fertilizers are also responsible for kidney damage paints, fuels, and degreasing agents.
Some chemicals, e.g., perfluorocarbons, are related to an elevated risk of kidney stones among US adults. So, handle any thermostats and old batteries carefully now.
Your body makes antioxidants and free radicals, but antioxidants usually neutralize free radicals. However, some antioxidants aren’t produced normally; free radicals get free rein to cause harmful chemical reactions in your body.
Chemical exposure often leads to a condition called oxidative stress. So, it leads to chronic inflammation, your cells may die, and your organs receive serious damage. Some chemicals responsible for oxidative stress are environmental pollutants and tobacco (nicotine).
Mid-pregnancy chemical exposure can affect your unborn child and may cause developmental issues for the baby after birth. Congenital disabilities aren’t very common, as just 1 in 33 children is diagnosed with congenital disabilities annually. However, it’s best to avoid chemical exposure during your pregnancy, such as PCBs, chlorine, cadmium, pesticides, and other teratogenic chemicals.
Not all microorganisms are bad for our bodies; some 100 trillion “helpful” bacteria live in our bodies. These micro-creatures defend our bodies against allergies and infections. However, toxins create an imbalance in these microorganisms’ populations.
For instance, arsenic exposure alters the populace of those bacteria in our guts that help in digestion. We become more vulnerable to allergies because of our altered microbiome. That’s why it’s crucial to protect these helpful gems from chemicals.
Your skin can cause system temporary or permanent damage when exposed to chemicals for a long time. For instance, many workers exposed to gasoline can end up with cracked skin, among other adverse health effects. Similarly, nickel, arsenic, and mercury in paint, cement, and adhesives can lead to skin defatting, irritation, and corrosion.
But you can avoid these health problems by washing your skin immediately with water and soap. Get medical attention if toxins have penetrated your skin.
In a nutshell, we are exposed to different chemicals daily. But some chemicals can harm our bodies and cause diseases. Chemical exposure is unhealthy for our heart, brain, immune, and digestive systems. You can avoid damage by learning about chemical exposure, washing your hands regularly, and ventilating your residence. Quit smoking, don’t eat mercury-exposed fish, and discard electronics.