Dangers of toxic chemicals

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The 21st century is an age characterised by its increasing environmental awareness. However, there are still a number of highly toxic chemicals which the average person can come into contact with unknowingly. This makes understanding the risks associated with such contact absolutely vital for anyone concerned about their health and that of their family.
One of the biggest chemicals of concern is arsenic, a known cause of many types of cancer, including skin, lung, bladder and kidney. The substance can be found in many types of food, in both organic and inorganic forms. It’s this latter type which is of particular concern, as it can raise the likelihood of both cancer and other health issues. Common foods containing both types of arsenic include apple and grape juice and many rice products. The arsenic finds its way into these products both through naturally occurring contamination and through pesticides which leach into the ground. Arsenic was also used in many wood products manufactured prior to 2003, but thanks to the realization of its health impacts, the industry stopped using it for residential purposes.
Children are particularly susceptible to arsenic-related issues, as it enters their bodies at higher rates relative to their body sizes, with exposure at an early age thought to be linked to increased mortality rates in young adults. Both children and adults exposed to the chemical may exhibit signs such as irritation of the stomach and intestines, reduced nerve function and blood vessel damage. There is also evidence to suggest that children exposed to arsenic in the long-term may suffer from reduced IQ scores.
In order to minimize health risks from arsenic, it is recommended that children consume juice drinks in small amounts only, with water, milk and whole fruits preferred instead. Rice cereals should also be limited to no more than one serving a day, while rice drinks and rice-based food, such as rice milk and rice flour, should generally be avoided.
Another known carcinogen is formaldehyde, used commonly in embalming fluid, furniture products, glues and cleaning and beauty products. A number of agents which release formaldehyde are found as preservatives in cosmetics, including DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. Although formaldehyde is found naturally in the environment, the issue with such agents is that they release the chemical slowly and continuously over a long period of time. For example, formaldehyde from cosmetics or building products may be off-gassed and inhaled, leading to skin and eye irritation, a reduction in indoor air quality and the triggering of allergies, even at low doses.
Some of the biggest concerns regarding toxic chemicals are related to those which are commonly found around the house. The everyday air freshener often contains formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p-dichlorobenzene and aerosol propellants, with the effects of these chemicals including eye, skin and lung irritation, fatal pulmonary edema in sensitive individuals, and nervous system damage.
You can read more of this article in our May issue of ModelsMania
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