Healthy Chemistry for Optimal Health
Healthy Chemistry for Optimal Health – Wrapping Up Chemicals and Optimal Health In our environment, many different materials we use can be hazardous to our health.
These chemicals affect our health via direct body contact, ingestion or internal absorption.
In order to understand the importance of chemicals to optimal health, and to assess the possible health effects of particular chemicals, we have to know the difference between ‘hazardous’ chemicals and ‘toxic’ chemicals.
Toxicity is defined as the degree to which a substance or chemical can damage any organism after it has made contact with a particular body part.
If it results in unwanted effects, then the material is toxic. Here’s how it works: the more toxic a material is, the less amount of it is needed to be ingested, absorbed or become in contact to cause any harmful effects.
If the substance is less toxic, a greater amount is needed in order to cause more harm to the body. These chemicals are tested on animals, oftentimes rats, to measure the level of toxicity.
Hazard refers to the possible danger or risk a concentration may cause to the body. Toxicity is a property that is inherent to the material, whereas hazard is the degree of probability a material or substance presents.
The way to understand this better is to consider that even if a material is very toxic, it can be non-hazard if handled properly.
On the other hand, another substance may be less toxic, but highly hazardous due to its prevalence and packaging, such as acid in an open container.
Possible Entry Routes
There are three possible entry routes for toxic materials into one’s body. These are:
Via oral ingestion, which pertains to swallowing of the toxic
substance by the mouth.
Via skin or eye absorption that pertains to direct contact of the material or substance with the skin, which is then absorbed through the pores of the eyes or skin
Nasal or oral inhalation which is when a chemical substance is inhaled through the nose or mouth via the air in the environment.
Classification of Chemical Substances
There are a lot of chemicals that can harm one’s body. It is very important to know the types of substances that can be dangerous and how they will affect the body.
The following are the classification of these harmful substances and some good examples:
Irritants that can cause aggravation of the tissues when in contact such as ammonia and nitrogen dioxide
Narcotics or anesthetics that can damage the central nervous system such as chloroform and xylene
System poisons that can damage internal organs such as carbon tetrachloride and halogenated hydrocarbons
Carcinogens refers to substances that can cause cancer such as arsenic, benzene, inorganic chromium salts, beryllium and nickel
Mutagens that can induce cancer as well such as radiation and variety of chemical agents that alter the genetic components
Teratogens that are harmful to pregnant women for it could generate defects on fetus such as thalidomide and possibly steroids
Sensitizer agents that can cause allergic reactions such as cutting oils, isocyanates in polyurethane foam operations, paint spraying operation and some laboratory solvents.
There are a lot of chemical substances present in our environment that can be hazardous to our health. We just need to be aware of its effects and proper usage to avoid dangerous and fatal effects to our body. Awareness of chemicals and optimal health are essential.
As there are many toxic and hazardous chemicals all around us, there are also good chemicals that we need in order to survive and thrive. For optimal health, we need to use moderate amounts of these chemicals.
It is highly recommended that before we let any chemicals touch our body, we know more about them and what they can do for us. The world in itself is a huge ball of chemicals and substances, and so are our human bodies.
Understanding how we interact with each other will help us achieve optimal lives.
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