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Learn about the numerous ways chemicals can enter and effect your body, and what we can do to prevent harm.
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Chemical Toxicity We're exposed to chemicals in the workplace everyday. In this lesson you'll learn how your level of exposure correlates to the symptoms you may experience.
How is the dose-relationship determined?
On a scientific basis it's visually represented by a graph, that shows the number of individuals and the responses to the toxin – ranging from mild to severe.
Developmental Toxins Exposure to toxins before conception or to the mother after conception can adversely effect parents, fetuses and newborns.³
Types of Toxins In this lesson, you'll learn about toxins, basic toxicology terminologies, the various types of toxins and how they differ from each other.
Toxins are poisonous substances produced within living organisms which, when ingested, inhaled or injected into an organism, can cause harmful effects on the functioning of its organ systems. There are other toxicology terminologies that are often used interchangeably in literature with 'toxins'. Let's learn what these terms are in the next slide and distinguish their subtle differences.
Due to the nature of the field of Toxicology, and how it sees any substance as a toxin once it becomes harmful, this lesson refers to both natural and artificial substances as “toxins”.
Toxins are categorized into four major groups: Biological Toxins Chemical Toxins Physical Toxins Radiation Toxins
Biological toxins are hazardous substances produced by living organisms, such as bacteria, dinoflagellates, algae, molds and fungi, plants, and animals.
Depending on the type of biological toxin and amount and route of exposure, health effects can range from minor (skin or eye irritation, headache, nausea) to severe (respiratory distress, muscle weakness, seizures, death). 5
Examples of toxins of biological origin include Snake Venom Toxins, Tetanus, Diphtheria Toxin, Tetrodotoxin, Pertussis Toxin, Botulinium Toxin, Conotoxin and Ricin.
Physical toxins are substances, that are due to their physical nature, interfere with biological processes and therefore, cause complications in the body.
Examples of physical toxins are coal dust, silica, asbestos fibers, and silicon dioxide.
Chemical toxins may be a single atom or complex molecule produced in nature or in a laboratory.
It can include inorganic substances,(.e.g lead, mercury, and carbon monoxide) and organic compounds (e.g. methyl alcohol), and poisons from living things.
Lastly, radiation is a special form of toxin which is emitted from radioactive molecules in the environment. Like other toxins, radioactivity disrupts the processes of cells and can lead to death.
Toxins produced via radiation can trigger the mechanism for inflammation, cell lysis, and damage to vital cellular structures such as mitochondria, DNA, ion channels and cell membranes [89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94]. At high doses of radiation, specific radiation toxins can disrupt pathological processes and cause injury to the central nervous system. 6
Examples of sources of radiation toxins include gamma radiation and microwaves.
Routes of Exposure Trace of toxic chemicals can enter your body without the necessary protection. In this lesson, you'll learn about the 4 major routes of chemical exposures and ways how you can prevent them.
There are about 350,000 chemicals registered for commercial production and use1 worldwide today... ... and the chemical industry introduces about 200 to 1,000 new chemicals every year. Trace amounts from these chemicals can be found in your food, air, and even drinking water. This exposes you, your workmates, and family to a number of chemicals — without being aware of the risk in the first place. In fact, unintentional poisonings are now estimated to cause approx. 100, 000 deaths2 annually, with 78% considered preventable.
In order for a chemical to harm a person's health, it must first come into contact or enter the body, and it must have some biological effect on the body. Proceed to the next slide to know the four primary routes by which chemical contaminants can enter the body.
Intramuscular (into a muscle) Intramuscular injection is usually delivered for rapid drug administrations (e.g. vaccines). The muscles in the arm are common sites of intramuscular injections.
**Subcutaneously (under the skin) ** Subcutaneous injections are often delivered in the tummy or thigh. As you can see in the image, there are a number of blood vessels here that can absorb the chemical and deliver it into the systemic circulation.
Intravenous This is the fastest way for a chemical to get into someone's system. An intravenous injection can deliver substance directly into the bloodstream, where the liquid gets mixed with blood and is rapidly dispersed around the body.
Intradermal Intradermal is the most superficial type, which requires the insertion of a needle into the dermis, the layer of tissue just below the skin. Absorption of fluid is very slow from this part. The most common site of intradermal injection is in the back or forearm.
Occupational Exposure Limits Know your rights. No one in the workplace should be exposed to a substance or mixture in an airborne concentration that exceeds the the relevant exposure standard for the substance or mixture.¹