As technology and our society progresses, it’s a sad fact that we still have to rely on some substances that can, in fact, be poisonous or dangerous to human health. Here are some of these dangerous chemicals or chemical compounds that we should avoid if we want to have less health issues to worry about.
While technically not a single chemical compound, the smoking habit, in itself, is practically the equivalent of voluntary chemical poisoning, as it is made up of more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic in nature, or simply have health effects that are unpleasant, to say the least.
Cigarette smoke causes cancers, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease, and respiratory conditions. Even worse, secondhand smokers and pregnant women are also at risk, not just the smokers themselves.
What to do: While stopping the habit is a personal issue, cessation should be encouraged on the basis medical and health concerns. Barring that, smoking shouldn’t be allowed indoors, or in areas where other people will be unwillingly exposed.
Even though lead has been banned as an ingredient in paint, many structures still have old paint with lead in them. This has lead to a general rise in lead levels in the blood not only for the general population, but specifically in younger children. Children with higher levels of lead in their blood risk having learning disabilities, behavioral problems, anemia, and even serious brain damage, depending on the levels of the heavy metal in their blood stream.
What to do: have your house tested for lead paint, particularly if it is more than 25 years old. Do hire professional help for removing lead paint, as the removal process itself can trigger further lead exposure.
It should be noted that all heavy metal exposure is dangerous. In fact, mercury is one other heavy metal that one should be careful of, as it can be ingested, thanks to its presence in some edible fish.
Even though we use pesticides to control insects and weeds, we should remember to properly store them, and minimize their presence in our houses. Many pesticides use chemicals that are simply hazardous to human health.
What to do: Do take inventory of all chemicals in your house periodically. It’s possible that you may have old cans or bottled of pesticide lurking in closets or storage spaces. You can minimize their use simply by keeping your home and its surroundings well-maintained and clean. If you do find unsafe or unused pesticides, and you wish to dispose of them, do call the local public works offices, and find out how you can dispose of them safely, without them entering the local environmental cycle.
You don’t just find formaldehyde in the high school lab, as it is a common ingredient in glues, fertilizers, and certain kinds of insulation and building materials. You can also find them in disinfectants, some types of soap, and even in beauty products. Exposure to formaldehyde can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. It is also a known carcinogenic.
What to do: Do make sure that you use exterior-grade pressed wood products in your home, and if you buy or use furniture that uses particleboard, you should make sure they are laminated or at least have a protective coating. Good ventilation is needed, too.
When dealing with dangerous chemicals, do remember that it’s not the exotic chemicals that can get you, but rather the ones that are in your household.