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Most chemicals we use or exposed to daily kill us slowly or instantly on overexposure.

Most chemicals we use or exposed to daily kill us slowly; Know the chemicals, health hazards, protection and more.           

You come in contact with chemicals daily and everywhere. This is called chemical exposure. Although some chemical exposures are safe, others are not. A certain amount of a harmful chemical must enter your body to make you sick. Harmful chemicals can get into your body if you breathe, eat, or drink them or if they are absorbed through your skin.
Many factors play a part in whether you get sick from contact with chemicals, including
• The kind of chemical you are exposed to,
• How much of the chemical you were in contact with,
• How long the contact lasted,
• How often you were exposed,
• How it entered your body, and
• Your health

Exposure to solvents, radioactive and some other chemical substances have been confirmed to body system failures, lung and kidney cancers, infertility, instant death, and many more others.

In this write-up, these chemical substances ,their health hazards to body systems and their names and sources of exposure are outlined according to The Agency for ToxicSubstances and Disease Registry (ATSDR),Federal Public Health Agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Toxipedia - "A dose of small solvent".Regulatory standards and recommendations are inclusive.

The RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: function is to supply oxygen to the body and remove carbon dioxide. It includes the nasal passages, pharynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Possible health effects of the respiratory system include asbestosis, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, fibrosis, emphysema, and decreased oxygen supply in blood.
Possible Contaminants       Where you find them
Asbestos                                  Old insulation
Radon                                      The ground
Cadmium                                  Old batteries
Benzene                                   Degreasers
Carbon monoxide                     Car exhaust, unvented or faulty furnaces
Soot                                          Furnaces, wood burning stoves

The RENAL SYSTEM: function is to rid the body of waste, to regulate the amount of body fluids, and to regulate the amount of salts in the body. It includes the kidneys, the urethra, the bladder, and the ureter. Possible health effects of the renal system include decreased formation of urine, decreased blood flow to kidney, decreased ability to filter the blood, prevented urine flow, kidney tissue damage, and kidney cancer.
Possible Contaminants          Where you find them
Cadmium                                  Old batteries, cigarette smoke
Lead                                         Old paint, outdated plumbing
Mercury                                     Thermostats, thermometers, some fish
Uranium                                     Food & water, proximity to nuclear testing sites
Chlorinated hydrocarbon           solvents Degreasers, paint removers, dry cleaning solutions

The CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM: function is to move nutrients, gases, and wastes to and from the body, to help stabilize body temperature, and to fight diseases and infections by transporting white blood cells to important areas. It includes the heart, blood, arteries, veins, and capillaries. Possible health effects include heart failure and the inability of blood to carry the necessary oxygen to the body.
Possible Contaminants                          Where you find them
Carbon monoxide                                     Car exhaust, unvented or faulty furnaces
Carbon disulphide                                        Industrial production
Nitrates                                                      Fertilizers
Methylene chloride                                    Auto part cleaners, paint removers

The REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM: function is to produce egg and sperm cells, to nurture a developing fetus, and to produce hormones. For males it includes the testicles, seminal vesicles, prostate gland, and the penis. For females it includes the uterus, bladder, vagina, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the cervix. Possible health effects of the reproductive system include decreased ability to have a baby, increased baby deaths, increased birth defects, and infertility (the inability to have children).
Possible Contaminants                       Where you find them
Methyl mercury                                      Some fish, coal-burning power
Carbon monoxide                                   Car exhaust, unvented or faulty furnaces
Lead                                                        Old paint, outdated plumbing

The NERVOUS SYSTEM: function is to transmit messages from one part of the body to another. It includes the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system. Possible health effects of the nervous system include inability to move, loss of feeling, confusion, and decreased speech, sight, memory, muscle strength, or coordination.
Possible Contaminants                    Where you find them
Arsenic                                                 Pressure treated wood
Cadmium                                             Discarded batteries
Carbon monoxide                                Car exhaust, unvented or faulty furnaces
Cyanide                                               Rat poison

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM: function is to protect the body from tumor cells, environmental substances, and invading viruses or bacteria. It includes the lymph system, bone marrow, white blood cells, and the spleen. Possible health effects of the immune system include overreaction to environmental substances (allergy), immune system slow down or failure, and autoimmunity (autoimmunity causes the body to attack itself – which makes it more likely to have an over-reaction or infection).
Possible Contaminants                       Where you find them
Mercury                                                  Thermostats, thermometers, some fish
Lead                                                        Old paint, outdated plumbing
Pesticides                                                Unwashed fruits and vegetables
Polychlorinated biphenyls      Industrial waste, fish from contaminated water
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons  Cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust, asphalt roads

THE SKIN serves as a barrier to germs and other substances, prevents dehydration, and regulates body temperature. Possible health effects of the skin include irritation, rash, redness or discoloration, dermatitis, and health effect related to other systems and organs due to contamination through the skin.
Possible Contaminants                   Where you find them
Nickel                                                 Cement
Mercury                                               Thermostats, thermometers, some fish
Arsenic                                                 Pressure treated wood
Chromium                                             Paints, industrial production
Polychlorinated biphenyls        Industrial waste, fish from contaminated water
VOC (volatile organic compounds) Fumes from gasoline, paint, adhesives, building supplies

THE HEPATIC SYSTEM: function is to break down food and store nutrients, to make proteins which are essential for blood to clot, and to purify the body of drugs, contaminants, or chemicals. It includes the liver and its veins. Possible health effects of the hepatic system include liver damage, tumors, accumulation of fat (steatosis), and death of liver cells.
Possible Contaminants                      Where you find them
Carbon tetrachloride                              Adhesives
Methylene chloride                                 Auto part cleaners, paint removers
Vinyl chloride                                          Pipe sealer

Reproductive hazard          methoxyethanol, 2-ethoxyethanol, methyl chloride
Developmental hazard:         Alcohol (Ethyl Alcohol)
Liver or kidney damage:  Toluene, carbon tetrachloride, 1,1,2-2-tetrachloroethane, Chloroform
Nervous system damage: n-hexane, perchloroethylene, n-butyl mercaptan
Carcinogenic: carbon tetrachloride, Trichloroethylene, 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane, perchloroethylene,Methylene Chloride, Benzene
Visual system hazard: methanol

The easy availability of solvents in commercial and household products, combined with the rapid onset of nervous systems effects, encourages the use of solvents as an intoxicating drug. The recreational inhalation of solvents can produce euphoria, visual and auditory hallucinations, and sedation. As mentioned above, repeated exposure to high levels of solvents results in permanent brain damage. Children who accidentally drink furniture polish or other solvent-based household products are vulnerable to nervous system effects and possibly pneumonitis.

Reducing Exposure
From a health perspective there are few redeeming features of solvents except for their use as anesthetics. Clearly the simple recommendation is to avoid exposure unless administered for some medical reason. In the workplace, appropriate ventilation and personal safety equipment should be in place at all times. There are numerous national and international regulations on solvent exposure in the workplace. Substitution of less-toxic solvents in processes and products can reduce the risk of injury.

Regulatory Standards
In workplaces, standards and exposure recommendation are complex because they must address both level and duration of exposure. Below are some of the common terms used in establishing exposure recommendations.
STEL - Short term exposure limits (15 minute exposure) -protects against loss of consciousness or loss of
performance, allows short-term exposure in emergency situations
TLV - Threshold Limit Value
TWA - Time Weighted Average (acceptable for 8-hr day, 40-hr week)
TLV-C - Threshold Limit Value-C (ceiling not to be exceeded)

Recommendation and Conclusions
Solvents are common around the home and workplace. As with most toxic substances, the best policy is to
substitute less-toxic products whenever possible, and to reduce exposure through ventilation or protective
equipment when substitutes are not available. Inhalation of solvents is particularly dangerous because of the rapid
exchange in the lungs and quick access to the nervous system. Solvent inhalation produces predictable short term
effects but the long effects of repeated solvent exposure are not well characterized.

Sources of information:
1. "A dose of small solvent" by
2. "Health effects of chemical exposure" by The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR),Federal Public Health Agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;(

 Click here to know about Macjames safe cleaning and degreasing chemical that does not contain any of the hazardous organic volatile compounds(VOCs),petroleum distillates/solvents,others alike.

About the Author.
Engr. Chinenye Justin Nwaogwugwu, MNSE, is a registered Chemical Engineer with Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and a member of Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE). He studied Chemical Engineering from Federal University of Technology,Owerri,Nigeria. An advanced trained Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) personnel by Nigerian Institute of Safety Professionals (NISP).He received entrepreneurship trainings from Doug Richard's School for Startups, London; PAN Atlantic University/Enterprise Development Centre, Nigeria and Founder Centric, United Kingdom.

Selected for Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2014/2015 by Royal Academy of Engineering, United Kingdom. An Awardee of Federal Government of Nigeria Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria 2012.Qualified for "Create the Future Design Contest"2013,2014 and 2015 sponsored by SAE international and COMSOL-MOUSER,USA.

He is the Managing Director/CEO of Macjames Global Resources Limited, manufacturers of approved/registered innovative Household, Industrial & Institutional (HI&I) and Oilfield chemicals, and offers related services. 

He has lectured and trained over 5000 professionals in various fields of his profession and experience such as in chemicals formulations and manufacturing, water treatment and plant design, environmental management and services, corrosion control and prevention, among others.
One of his innovative products, MACJAMES® MULTISURFACE DEGREASER/CLEANER - MMDC-11 met all the criteria and qualified for the COMSOL-MOUSER-SAE international® (USA) sponsored "Create the Future Design Contest 2013,2014 and 2015" and Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2014/2015 by Royal Academy of Engineering, UK.

His MACJAMES®MULTIPURPOSE LIQUID DETERGENT - MMLD-06 won the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria award in 2012. He has researched, fully developed, and produces over 20 innovative chemical products ranging from household-industrial-institutional cleaning and degreasing, water treatment, oilfield, Solvent thinners, cosmetic, to disinfection/fumigation chemicals

He has over fourteen years practical work, research and entrepreneurial experiences including Manufacturing, Plant Design and Construction, Water treatment, Corrosion Control, Client Services, Marketing/Sales, Management and Consultancy from over eight industries and institutions.

He is an innovator, a consultant and an entrepreneur with practical transferable skills and ideas in chemicals and related services.

Contact:   /   /   +234 803 677 4878


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