Chemical Poisoning

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Chemical Poisoning
Definition
Chemical poisoning is a major public health concern. Approximately 95% of all accidental or intentional poisonings are due to chemicals. Nearly 90% of these cases occur at home. The smallest children, infants and toddlers, are at the highest risk for accidental (acute) poisoning. In 2000, poison control centers received well over a million calls about poison exposures to children younger than age 6. Chronic exposure is chemical poisoning that occurs slowly and insidiously over a prolonged period of time. Many chronic, degenerative diseases have been linked to environmental pollution or poisoning. The list may include cancer, memory loss, allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, infertility in adults, learning and behavioral disorders, developmental abnormalities, and birth defects in children. Description

Currently there are millions of natural and synthetic chemicals in our world. Approximately 3,000 of them are known to cause significant health problems. Accidental chemical poisoning involving common household or garden products is easy to diagnose and treat, as long as it is recognized early enough. On the other hand, poisoning due to daily exposure to chemicals is more difficult to diagnose and the extent of damage is more difficult to assess. Toxic chemicals can be found everywhere—in homes, in the yard, at work, on the playground—even in foods and drinking water. Some result from illegal dumping. However, many chemical poisoning occur insidiously by the supposedly harmless chemicals that people bring into their homes or office to make their lives more comfortable. Household poisons

Because of the tremendous amounts of toxic chemicals that can be found inside the house, scientists now believe the home—not the office or the freeway—is the most contaminated place of all. Any chemicals found inside the house can be accidentally ingested by small children. Daily exposure to chemicals indoors may also cause significant health risks. Major chemical poisons inside home include volatile organic compounds, lead, radon, carbon monoxide, and those found in household cleaners and carpet. VOLATILE CHEMICALS. Indoor air pollution is caused by volatile chemicals. These are chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. When we use products that contain these volatile substances, these chemicals are trapped inside our homes reaching to levels thousands of times higher than the outdoor air. Chronic exposure to polluted air may cause lung infections, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, fatigue, depression, and memory loss. In addition, they may cause damage to an unborn fetus and increase the risk of developing cancer. The following are some of the most common volatile substances found inside our homes: * trichloroethane (spray cans, insulation, spot removers) * tetrachloroethylene (dry–cleaning solutions)

* formaldehyde (glue, foam, preservatives, plywood, fabrics, insulation) * para-dichlorobenzene (P-DCB) (mothballs, air fresheners) * toluene (solvents, cleaning fluids, wood finishing products) * benzene (gasoline)

* xylene (paints, finishing products)
* acetone (nail polish removers)
* styrene (foam, carpets, adhesives)
* carbon tetrachloride (dry cleaning solutions, paint removers) * perchloroethylene (cleaning solvents)
LEAD AND OTHER HEAVY METALS. Lead is a very toxic chemical, especially to small children. It can cause poisoning that leads to learning disabilities and behavioral problems in children. Lead poisoning in pregnant mothers can cause fetal abnormalities, brain damage, and impaired motor skills in babies. Lead is often found in leaded paint (in old houses), pesticides, pottery and china, artist's paint, and products used for hobbies and crafts. Also harmful are other heavy metals, such as mercury and cadmium. RADON. Radon is an odorless gas produced from the radioactive decay of uranium. It is believed to be the most...
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