Toxicologists know that we need certain chemicals to stay healthy, but they also understand that we need a balance. If we are unknowingly around dangerous chemicals, this can throw off our body’s chemical structure and is extremely detrimental to our health. Indeed, chemical exposure can cause long-term health issues, known as chronic effects. Luckily, we can take precautionary measures – chemical safety includes hazard communication and awareness of the environment. Here we will analyze four key causes of chemical exposure and reflect on how to remain safe.
The air we breathe can contain toxic chemical particles such as radon, phosgene, and nitrogen dioxide. The symptoms of inhaling such gases depend on which of them you have been exposed to. These symptoms may include difficulty breathing, incessant coughs, and/or feeling faint. Fortunately, there are ways that you can stay safe by measuring detectable gases in the air using equipment such as portable gas detectors. However, if you have been in an environment with highly polluted, dangerous air, and have been struggling with the side effects of fume inhalation, you should contact a toxic chemical exposure lawyer to explore taking legal action and protect yourself further.
The ingestion of hazardous chemicals is another cause of chemical exposure. This occurs when toxic particles enter the body through the mouth. This can happen if the swallowed object is harmful or has encountered contaminated hands or surfaces. Therefore, good hygiene standards are essential, and you must always wash both your hands and face before eating. Be aware that certain household products can be dangerous so it’s good to be aware of how to handle and store them.
If poisonous particles touch your eyes and/or skin, this direct contact can be very dangerous because they will most likely be immediately absorbed. Any hazardous dust, gas, smoke, or liquid that gets into your eyes or touches your skin can be potentially harmful. In a dangerous work environment, employers have a duty of care and must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, protective eyewear, and hazard suits if necessary.
This is the least common cause of chemical exposure. Nevertheless, it is equally as dangerous and should be prevented at all costs. The injection of harmful chemicals can happen when the skin is pierced by sharp objects that have been contaminated. This includes the intentional misuse of needles, occupational mishandling of syringes, and accidents with broken glass or jagged metal. Some occupations require working with syringes, especially in chemical research or healthcare. However, regular, thorough training and effective PPE should always be utilized to eliminate any possibility of chemical injection.
Specific factors can increase the effects of chemical exposure, such as age, gender, and length of time we are around them. Indeed, chemical exposure is something we must be aware of to keep ourselves and the people around us safe. Regarding prevention, there are five necessary steps: apprehension, recognition, evaluation, control, and verification. If we follow and incorporate this, we can dramatically lower any risks.