Ch. 25 Environmental and Occupational Health Kimberly Rudge
Impact on development As the number and concentration of chemicals have increase; so has the number of childhood illnesses. Most children in the U.S are exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals before they are even born. According to the 2010 report of the President’s Cancer Panel Studies have found a total of three hundreds chemicals present in the umbilical cords of newborns.
Contamination through Breast Milk? Toxins are easily stored in a woman’s fat through the process of bioaccumulation, and mothers pass them to their newborns through their milk. Babies who are formula-fed are more likely than babies who are breastfed to develop ear infections, diarrhea, asthma, diabetes, lower respiratory tract infections, and eczema.
Who’s Responsible? Many environmental health hazards are caused by industrial practices and pollution that expose individuals and communities to chemicals It’s the responsibility of the industry and government to ensure information is properly distributed. There are state and federal right-to-know laws that provide some access to critical information.
Lead Lead is a neurotoxic, it affects our nerve cells. Trace amounts are found in the air, food, water, dust and various products. Even small amounts can be dangerous since the substance accumulates in tissue and bone over time. Acute exposure leads to: Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma, and death. Chronic exposure leads to: Brittle bones, anemia, damage to the brain, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood system. Children and pregnant women are most susceptible. Long-term exposure can also reduce male fertility. Children who eat a diet rich in iron and calcium absorb less lead.
Cont.. Dairy products, read mean, dark leafy greens, tofu, and beans can help to increase iron and calcium levels. EPA estimates that lead paint poisoning affects more than 1 million American children. Lead exposure in the home can occur through lead pipes and lead-based paint, particularly in older buildings.
Mercury This substance is used in some thermometers, thermostats, auto parts, scientific instruments, batteries, dental fillings, eye makeup, over-the-counter drugs, chlorine production, and lighting, including tanning beds. Mercury can damage the central nervous system, the endocrine system, the hear, the lungs, the immune system, and the kidneys. Symptoms include: Itching, burning, or pain; skin discoloration, shedding of skin, muscle weakness, red face, loss of teeth, hair and nails, and increased sensitivity to light.
Pesticides The most common and heavily utilized synthetic products. EPA estimates that more than 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides are used annually in the united states alone. Exposure has been linked to many developmental problems and effects on the reproductive system. Exposure to some agricultural pesticides among women during pregnancy may be associated with autism in their children.
Cont.. Pesticide exposure is especially common in farm communities. Children experience more negative effects from pesticides than adults, owing to their size and biology.
BPA Is an organic compound widely used in hard plastic products, including reusable food containers, baby bottles, sippy cups, and the lining of baby formula containers and canned food. The chemical industry produces 7 billion pounds of BPA in the United States each year. The compound is considered an endocrine disrupting chemical. Here is a list of serious chronic disorders Cancers, infertility, heart disease, liver abnormalities, genital abnormalities in male babies, early puberty in girls, cognitive and behavioral impairments, diabetes, asthma, obesity.
Cont… Environmental Working Group found BPA in more than half of ninety-seven cans of brand name fruit, vegetables, soda and other common canned goods. A particular concern is its use in toys and plastic containers aimed at young children.
Tips to avoid BPA exposure Watch for the numeral 7 on the bottom of plastic containers. That often means they contain BPA. Don’t microwave plastic food containers made with BPA, and discard old or damaged bottles. Choose glass, stainless steel or BPA free polypropylene bottles. Minimize the use of canned foods and canned drinks. Ask your dentist for BPA-free sealants and composite fillings.
What’s in our cosmetics? Women use multiple cosmetic and personal care products throughout the United States, which include: lotions, toothpaste and make-up. Many of the chemicals commonly used in cosmetics are associated with allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity, asthma, shortness of breath, changes in hormones functions, different cancers, brain development, reproductive disorders, skin diseases, and birth impairments. According to the EWG, one in five personal care products contains chemicals linked to cancer. Cosmetics and household products contain some of the highest rates of synthetic chemicals.
Shared risks, unequal burdens Health hazards are borne unequally by people with low incomes and people of color because of the workplace and environmental conditions. Economic and social power determines how much we are able to protect ourselves from environmental and occupational health hazards. People of color are more likely to work in more dangerous workplaces, and to live in inadequate housing, closer to environmental hazards.
Action Strategies at home and in thecommunity Be a careful consumer and read labels so that you know all of the ingredients in your food. Investigate environmental conditions to know what companies are doing that affect your environment. Find out who paid for a study Talk to your neighbors and monitor health concerns, symptoms and suspected exposure in the community.