When people talk about how toxic chemicals and substances destroy our environment, our minds immediately paint a gloomy picture. That picture usually focuses on nuclear plants and factories responsible for causing widespread air pollution. But there is something that we do not realize. The term “environmental toxins” does not discriminate among the environment in which you are present. An individual does not have to be near some huge nuclear plant to be affected by radioactive substances. Harmful toxins are also present in the environment that you may regularly spend your days or nights, such as your home and workplace.
Environmental toxins can considerably impact our health, but we do not pay much attention to them. Let’s talk about how these harmful toxins enter our bodies, the kind of harm they can do, and how to avoid contact and prolonged exposure.
Types of Environmental Toxins
There are mainly six types of toxins present in the environment. These toxins include carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, allergens, neurotoxins, and endocrine disruptors. Each of them contains chemicals and substances that affect our bodies in different ways.
Endocrine disruptors impact reptiles and amphibians. Metals present in water such as Lead and Mercury are typical examples of such toxins, as well. Environmental toxins also contain asbestos, formaldehyde, pesticides, and preservatives. These toxins sometimes also contain hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Exposure to environmental toxins
We can unknowingly get exposed to multiple environmental toxins in our daily life other than carbon monoxide in the air we breathe. These toxins are everywhere and can also be present in the atmosphere where you least expect them. Some of the environmental toxins, like asbestos, can also become fatal. Construction workers and military veterans, in particular, are at higher risk of developing rare forms of cancer such as pleural, pericardial, and peritoneal mesothelioma due to prolonged exposure.
In addition, the environment does not only constitute the air we breathe in. You can find hazardous chemicals in food, airbags, packaging, detergents, plastic utensils, cosmetic products, toys, etc. If there is any person in your house who smokes, the smoke from cigarettes can also contain harmful toxins. These toxins may not do much harm to your body if you consume them in a smaller quantity. But once the amount increases because of frequent exposure, you may want to get yourself a routine check-up to know how your body is coping.
Humans get into contact with environmental toxins through different routes. Sometimes, they inhale these harmful substances in the form of vapors, mists, or gases. When a person inhales these toxins, they get trapped into the respiratory tract. Another way environmental toxins enter the body is through absorption. Our eyes or skin can absorb the toxins, and then they can enter our blood system. These toxins can cause harm to the organs present internally. However, that is not the only way they become injurious. Environmental toxins are also capable of entering the body through ingestion. We can swallow or drink them unknowingly, and that can become hazardous.
Environmental toxins and health concerns
We’ve already mentioned mesothelioma, but that’s merely the tip of the iceberg. Prolonged exposure can lead to cancerous developments in the body. While asbestos microfibrils cause mesothelioma, tobacco and carbon monoxide lead to lung cancer. Heavy metals can cause tumors and cancer in the kidneys, digestive system, and nervous system.
According to research at UCSF Bixby Center, environmental toxins can harm women’s reproductive health. If women get in contact with such toxins, their pregnancies can result in congenital disabilities. The anomalies can include premature deliveries or even stillbirths in some conditions. Another study suggests that environmental toxins can decrease fertility in both women’s and men’s bodies.
In a PRHE survey, healthcare professionals suggest that women stay aware of keeping themselves healthy during pregnancy. When the Obstetrician-Gynecologists explained the impact of environmental toxins, the women could decrease their exposure resulting in a healthy pregnancy.
Keeping away from environmental toxins
No one can stay completely away from environmental toxins because they are almost everywhere. However, to keep yourself safe and away from harm, you can take a few simple steps. You can switch to more environmentally friendly brands to decrease chemical exposure in your home and workplace. That will not only be helpful to you but to the environment, as well. You can also educate yourself more to understand what alternatives you can choose among your daily-use products.
A helpful and quick guide towards a green lifestyle is to search for products having labels that say one of these; Paraben-free, Phthalate-free, BPA-free. This way, you won’t have to spend your time in deep research about ingredients. All that you will need to do is look for the labels.
If you want to do more to adopt an environmentally friendly lifestyle, quit consuming bottled water Studies show that bottled water sometimes includes hazardous toxins or bacteria. When it comes to food consumption, you can also make a healthier switch to organic food. However, there is one more switch that you can make to help the environment. Detergents contain a lot of harmful toxins. You can instead use natural products for cleaning your clogged drains. Also, quit smoking.
Last but not least, if your workplace exposes you to any risk, ensure proper safety. Follow SOPs and wear protective gear. Regular visits to your doctor will help you identify any health-related problems before they become a severe concern.
Spending an environmentally friendly lifestyle may not be as easy as it sounds. Still, it has more benefits than you think. It does not only keep your personal choice of giving back to the planet intact, but it also maintains your health. Environmental toxins are of many types, and you can’t hide away from any of them. They are also more harmful to your health than you can imagine. Now that you know that these toxins can also contribute to cancer growth, you should understand how important it is not to compromise your health. So, try to find greener alternatives, ensure proper safety at work, and keep your health and environment fit.