Chemical Toxins

Chemical Toxins

Recently Answered

  • 2 Answers
    A
    It’s virtually impossible to avoid exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, but passing better toxic chemical laws that require chemicals to be tested before they go on the market would help reduce our exposure. There are a few things that can you can do in the meantime:
    • use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which can cut down on toxic-laden house dust
    • avoid reupholstering foam furniture
    • take care when replacing old carpet (the padding underneath may contain PBDEs)
    See All 2 Answers
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    Ever read the back of a bottle of cleaner? Between the multisyllabic chemicals you can't pronounce and the warnings to keep children and pets away from them, it's no wonder many people wind up in the emergency room when they ignore those warnings. One of the most dangerous mistakes you can make? Accidentally mixing ammonia (found in window cleaner) with chlorine bleach (found in all types of cleaners). The result is chlorine gas, which was an agent of chemical warfare in World War I.

  • 1 Answer
    A
    Who needs food tainted with rocket fuel? That’s right, perchlorate, a component in rocket fuel, contaminates much of our produce and milk. When perchlorate gets into your body it competes with the nutrient iodine, which the thyroid gland needs to make thyroid hormones. Basically, this means that if you ingest too much of it you can end up altering your thyroid hormone balance. This is important because it’s these hormones that regulate metabolism in adults and are critical for proper brain and organ development in infants and young children.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    Eighty thousand chemicals have been created since World War II, and of them, 2,800 are high production volume (HPV) chemicals whose production exceeds 1 million pounds a year. Fewer than 20% of these HPV chemicals have been tested for their possible toxicity to children.

    In the absence of federal regulations or guidelines, Dr. Maida Galvez, a pediatrician and the director of the Mount Sinai Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU), and Rhonda Sherwood, vice chairman of the Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Center, advise taking a precautionary approach and looking for safer alternatives for untested HPV chemicals.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    It's pretty difficult to avoid exposure to dioxins since the ongoing industrial release of dioxin has meant that the American food supply is widely contaminated. Products including meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter are most likely to be contaminated. However, you can cut down on your exposure by eating fewer animal products.
  • 2 Answers
    A

    On a daily basis we are exposed to a variety of chemicals through different sources - the food we eat, the personal care products we use, the air we breathe, etc. According to an Environmental Working Group survey, women use on average 12 personal care and cosmetic products each day, which results in being exposed to over 160 different ingredients in these products. Health concerns from these exposures have arisen as science learns more about the potential health effects of these chemicals. Unfortunately not all chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products have been tested for safety, as the US FDA does not require safety testing for the ingredients in these products. In addition, not all ingredients in these products are listed on the label. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals that can disrupt the normal functioning of hormones that are frequent ingredients in these types of products, but are not always a component listed on the label. Instead they are often part of the chemical mixture listed as “fragrance” on the label. We recommend minimizing the number of products a person uses on a daily basis, choosing products with fewer ingredients, and buying “fragrance-free” products. 

    See All 2 Answers
  • 1 Answer
    A
    The perfluorinated chemicals used to make non-stick cookware can stick to you. Perfluorochemicals are so widespread and extraordinarily persistent that 99% of Americans have these chemicals in their bodies. One particularly notorious compound called PFOA has been shown to be “completely resistant to biodegradation.” In other words, PFOA doesn’t break down in the environment -- ever. That means that even though the chemical was banned after decades of use, it will be showing up in people’s bodies for countless generations to come. This is worrisome since PFOA exposure has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease and high cholesterol, among other health issues. Scientists are still figuring out how PFOA affects the human body, but animal studies have found that it can affect thyroid and sex hormone levels.

    How to avoid it? Skip non-stick pans as well as stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.
  • 1 Answer
    A

    Past studies showed that people with certain inherited traits might be more sensitive to benzene exposure. This new study looked at genetic traits in three genes that influence the way that benzene is processed when it gets into the body. When exposed to benzene, workers with two of these genetic traits tended to have lower white blood cell counts than workers without, so that benzene did have a stronger effect on workers with certain inherited differences in these genes. In particular, the study found that people with the more common version of the MPO gene were more susceptible to the effects of benzene on white blood cell counts.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

  • 1 Answer
    A
    What happens when you introduce highly toxic chemicals into nature and turn your back? For one thing, feminization of male frogs. That’s right, researchers have found that exposure to even low levels of the herbicide atrazine can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs. Atrazine is widely used on the majority of corn crops in the United States, and consequently it’s a pervasive drinking water contaminant. Atrazine has been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty and prostate inflammation in animals, and some research has linked it to prostate cancer in people.

    How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and get a drinking water filter certified to remove atrazine.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, or “PBDEs,” are flame-retardant chemicals that are used in a vast array of household items. PBDEs can be found in everything from carpet pads and foam pillows to computers and television sets. The three most commonly used PBDEs - penta, octa, and deca - can be found respectively in polyurethane foams, high impact plastics and electronic equipment.