Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay

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Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay

Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay

Environmental toxins are all around us. From the food we eat and water we drink to the products and energy we consume. Toxins have been found in beauty products, household cleaners, carpets, furniture, mattresses, house dust―and even in foods and products from natural sources.  Being surrounded by chemicals on a daily basis can have some harmful effects on your health. However, there are steps you can take to avoid undue toxins as well as make proper choices that can minimize your exposure to these toxins. Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay Paper


We all know that pesticides keep our fruits and vegetables free from bugs and disease, but pesticide residue can remain on your produce, even after washing it. The Environmental Protection Agency has restricted the use of most toxic pesticides, including highly toxic organophosphates (i.e., PCBs) that were phased out of farming in the late 1970s and 1980s. However, residue of these chemicals can still be seen in today’s leafy greens. Purchasing organic produce can be an easy alternative to conventionally grown produce. In particular, conventionally-grown strawberries, apples, celery, cucumbers, grapes, spinach and potatoes contain the highest amounts of pesticides.  Although it should always be remembered the benefits from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will always outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure, you should just limit your exposure as much as possible. Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay Paper

Filtered tap water or bottled water, which is healthier? Bottled water, with pictures of flowing streams and mountain springs on the label can actually be more harmful than you think. In 2008, the Environmental Working Group conducted a study on 10 different brands of bottled water. Their results showed 38 pollutants from disinfection byproducts, to industrial chemicals and bacteria. Unlike, water utilities that are regularly checked, tested and reported to the consumer, the bottled water industry rarely reports if contamination was found.  The best solution is to stop drinking bottled water and opt for filtered tap water instead. Not only will you lower your risk of possible chemicals and bacteria, but you will also reduce plastic waste and the burden on your wallet.

These tips and many others are logical ways to minimize your exposure to toxins and improve your wellness. Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay Paper

What is an environmental illness?

An environmental illness can occur when you are exposed to toxins or substances in the environment that make you sick. These health hazards may be found where you live, work, or play.

Maybe you have headaches that only occur on weekends. Or maybe you began to feel sick and got a rash after moving into a newly built home. These symptoms can be caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. For example:

  • Those weekend headaches may be caused by a broken furnace leaking carbon monoxide.
  • Materials in new buildings may cause nausea and rashes. And the paper that makes up the outside layers of drywall promotes mold growth. Exposure to these molds may cause symptoms and could make you sick. Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay Paper

What causes environmental illnesses?

Exposure to some types of chemicals can cause an environmental illness. The more of the chemical you are exposed to, the more likely you are to get ill. Examples include:

  • Chemicals in cigarettes are known to cause lung cancer.
  • Exposure to asbestos, an insulating material found in some older buildings, can cause tumors, lung cancer, and other diseases. Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay Paper
  • Wood-burning stoves and poorly vented gas ranges can produce smoke or gases that can cause breathing problems.
  • Unsafe drinking water from a rural well polluted with pesticides or other poisons from a nearby industrial plant could cause allergies, cancer, or other problems.
  • Certain chemicals in the workplace may cause sterility in men or fertility problems in women.
  • Lead poisoning can cause health problems, most commonly in children. It can also cause high blood pressure, brain damage, and stomach and kidney problems in adults.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of an environmental illness depend on what is causing it. The symptoms may be like those you can get with other conditions. Examples are:

  • Headache.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Nausea.
  • A cough.
  • Muscle aches.
  • A rash. Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay Paper

If you think that exposure to toxic chemicals or other health hazards could be making you sick, talk to your doctor.

How are environmental illnesses diagnosed?

An environmental illness can be hard to diagnose. You and your doctor may not know what is causing your symptoms. Or you may mistake your symptoms for another problem. Exposure to toxic chemicals can cause a wide range of common medical problems or make them worse. Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay Paper

An exposure history, which is a set of questions about your home, workplace, habits, jobs, lifestyle, and hobbies, can help you find out what is making you sick. It may point to chemicals or other hazards that you’ve been exposed to recently or in the past.

Keep a journal of your symptoms, and discuss it with your doctor. It may help you find patterns in your symptoms. This can help you and your doctor find out what is causing your illness.


How are they treated?

Early treatment includes stopping or reducing your exposure to what is making you sick. These things might help: Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay Paper

  • Improve your air quality by getting rid of the source of pollution. Don’t allow smoking in your house. If smokers live in or visit your home, ask them to smoke outside.
  • Increase the amount of fresh air coming into your home. Adjust gas stoves, or replace them with electric ones. Check to make sure that exhaust fans work. Installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home can also protect you and your family.
  • Stop the health effects of mold exposure. Keep a dry environment indoors to reduce exposure to mold. If you do find mold, it should be removed. If the moldy area is less than 3 ft (1 m) by 3 ft (1 m), you can probably remove the mold yourself. But if the moldy area is bigger, a trained professional should remove the mold. Health Effects of Environmental Toxins Essay Paper