December 8, 2022

The use of chemicals and minerals to improve our lives is incredibly increasing. More products are being manufactured on a daily basis using these materials.

However, certain hazardous chemicals and minerals exist in our environment, and very little attention is paid to them. This is why their amount in our surroundings is increasing, affecting the human body adversely by causing diseases. Hence, it is about time that we put in the effort to recognize and reduce the presence of these toxic chemicals and minerals in our lives. Here are some of them.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a toxic mineral that can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, and cancer of the lung, larynx, or ovaries. This silicate mineral is made of microfibrils, and exposure harms the human body. It is present in the air of and surrounding factories handling asbestos. It can also be present in homes and other buildings where asbestos materials are present.

According to WHO, 125 million people are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces. This occupational exposure can result in several diseases that can be fatal. Hence, if you have been exposed to asbestos in your occupational place several times and feel sick, you should get yourself checked. You may have a severe disease such as mesothelioma and should visit mesotheliomahope.com for more assistance. Remember that the only way you can fight any disease caused by this deadly mineral is through early diagnosis and proper care and treatment.

Arsenic

Arsenic is one of those metalloids you should try and stay away from. It is usually present in water, seafood, and sometimes in the atmosphere. It can be divided into inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic compounds.

Inorganic arsenic is toxic to the human body and can cause arsenicosis. Aresenicosis is chronic arsenic poisoning and can take years to diagnose depending on the level of inorganic arsenic taken over time. Effects include skin lesions, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, peripheral neuropathy, and gastrointestinal symptoms. It can also result in developmental toxicity. Long-term exposure can lead to skin and internal organ cancer. Organic arsenic compounds are much safer, and exposure does not cause severe diseases. They are usually present in seafood, which, if ingested, are immediately eliminated.

To avoid chronic arsenic poisoning, ensure that the water you drink does not have more than ten micrograms of arsenic per liter. Also, see that the water you use to irrigate crops does not have more than ten micrograms of arsenic per liter. Water containing arsenic can cause crops to contain the mineral, resulting in toxicity when ingested. 

Mercury

One of the most toxic elements, mercury, can affect several organs in your body. It exists in its elemental state as well as organic and inorganic compounds and can harm your nervous, digestive, and immune systems. It can also be toxic to your lungs, kidneys, skin, and eyes.

Humans can come into contact with mercury by ingesting a fish or shellfish with bioaccumulated elemental mercury as methyl mercury. Moreover, because of human actions, mercury is released into our surroundings. It is released into the air via power stations that burn coal, residential heating systems, and waste incinerators. Miners can also come into contact with this element while mining for gold, silver, and other metals.

Diseases caused by mercury can be avoided by switching from mercury-containing thermometers and sphygmomanometers to electronic ones in healthcare. Proper care and safety measures should be taken while handling products that contain mercury in them.  

Benzene

Benzene is one of the most common chemicals present in our environment. You can get exposed to it at your workplace, at home, and even when you are just taking a stroll on the pavement. This is because benzene is used to make several products that we use daily, such as motor fuels, solvents, and petroleum products. Inhalation of tobacco smoke, both actively and passively, can also result in exposure to benzene. It is also highly volatile, so anyone working with it is bound to inhale it. The result is that you can be diagnosed with various acute and chronic diseases, including cancer.

 

To avoid being exposed to this toxic chemical, we need to work towards using solvents that are benzene free. The adverse effects of the chemical should be highlighted so that people stop its domestic use. Moreover, tobacco smoking in public places should be banned to save others from passively inhaling it and becoming victims of diseases caused by benzene.

Cadmium

Referred to as a human carcinogen, we are surrounded by cadmium now more than ever. This chemical has been present in our environment for a long time but in small quantities. However, due to several human actions, cadmium’s presence in our surroundings has dramatically increased. It is present in batteries, electronic devices, jewelry, and organisms such as mollusks. Some plastics and food also contain cadmium which is harmful to those exposed.

Besides being a carcinogen, cadmium adversely affects the renal, respiratory, and skeletal systems. To avoid the adverse effects of cadmium on human health, proper care should be taken while recycling it. While mining and managing waste, special care should be taken so that there is hardly any cadmium emission into the atmosphere. Anyone exposed to cadmium should be regularly screened for any disease, and more methods should be designed to ensure the safe handling of the element.

Lead

The environmental contamination of lead has become an enormous problem for the human race. It is a toxic metal in paint, petrol, lead acid batteries, etc., and can damage several body systems. Children exposed to lead can have severe neurotoxic effects that can also lead to death. Lead can also result in anemia and damage the neurologic, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and renal systems. This damage depends on the extent and amount of lead exposure. So, it’s about time we find an alternative to lead and decrease its use in our products.

Conclusion

You should try to avoid these toxic chemicals as much as possible. And if you have been exposed to them in your life for a while, you should get yourself regularly screened for the diseases caused by them. After all, no matter how deadly a disease is, its prognosis can be improved by early diagnosis.