Monday, December 27, 2010

Lets Stop Poisoning Our Children part 2

How toxic chemicals get into your body.
There are three ways chemicals can get into your body, ingestion, inhalation, and absorption.
Ingestion is eating or drinking a substance is the route of most immediate poisonings that lead to accidental death. Little kids are the most vulnerable to household poisonings through ingestion. They are very curious and they learn by putting things into their mouths. With a house full of toxic chemicals it is very scary to think what could happen.
Kids can’t tell the difference between lemon furniture polish and lemonade. They both smell the same and look the same. Ammonia looks like apple juice. Even things that we think are safe like perfume or mouth wash can be poisonous to a child if they drink them.
A little boy named Peter Schwab would crawl up to the dishwasher while his mom was loading it and play. He put his finger into the Electrasol dishwasher soap and then in his mouth. In minutes his face was red and blistered and the inside of his mouth and tongue were burned white. Luckily he was treated and a hospital and recovered. A little girl across the hall from Peter in the hospital ate dishwasher soap too and had to have seven surgeries to reopen her scarred esophagus.
A little three year old boy, Jason Whitley, died three weeks after swallowing only three ounces of hair conditioner which contains ammonia.
Adrian Gonzales at 7 months old spilled bleach on the floor and crawled through it. The bleach gave him third-degree burns on fifty percent of his body and the fumes burned his lungs.  He died after four days of the accident.
Every 13 seconds a family calls a poison control center regarding exposure to a poison. In 2002, over two millions poisonings were reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers and over half were for children under 6 years old who had been poisoned at home accidentally.  For kids 6 and under the most common poison is a household cleaner or a personal care product.
More kids under the age of four die each year from accidental poisonings at home than are accidentally killed with guns each year.
Inhalation is breathing a substance. Inhalation is more common and can be more harmful than injestion. It’s the kind of gradual poisonings that happens over time as kids breathe the vapors. Toxic fumes can be released eventhough the lid is on, just think of when you walk down the cleaning aisle at the store you can smell the cleaners. This is called outgassing.
When we inhale the fumes they go directly to our blood stream and travel quickly to our organs like the brain, heart liver, and kidneys. The results are headaches, muscle aches and lightheadedness. Many products give off vapors that can irritate your nose, throat and lungs and can cause a sinus infection.
When we clean we inhale the chemical vapors and our kids do as well. Toxic residue from laundry products on sheets, pillow cases, and cloths can be inhaled by the kids while they sleep or while playing while wearing their cloths.
Absorption is admitting a substance through the skin. This is often an n unsuspected route of exposure. Any chemical that touches our skin can be absorbed and spread throughout the body.
Skin absorption of toxic chemicals is obvious when you put on lotion. But it can also happen when you might not think about it like when you are cleaning. Like the mop water or the shower cleaner. Skin absorption can even happen when you touch a surface that has been cleaned with a chemical days or even weeks earlier. Like the table at a restraunt or shopping carts. This is a problem for kids as they crawl around or touch recently cleaned surfaces.
Not all household poisonings happen immediately. Some occur only after repeated exposure.
Acute Toxicity refers to a one-time exposure that leads to life- threatening effects or death. Usually these poisonings are the result of accidental ingestion of common household products that kids get into. This is why we have poison control centers.
Chronic Toxicity is poisonings as the result of many repeated exposures to small amounts of a chemical over a long period of time. The effects of this kind of exposures are cancer, birth defects and genetic changes. They may not show up for years. Just like smoking one cigarette won’t give you cancer one ordinary exposure to chemicals in cleaners probably won’t harm you either.  Smoking every day for years is likely to result in cancer. Just like cleaning our homes everyday or every week with toxic chemicals is likely to harm your health and the health of your kids. Because we don’t see immediate effects we think nothing is happening. But slowly our bodies and our kids’ bodies are being poisoned. Chemicals toxicity takes into account the combined effects of all the chemicals we are exposed to. Like the chemicals in your mouthwash, hair conditioner, cologne or perfume, laundry soap, window cleaner and many more adds up to chemical soup in your body.
Many studies have been done on the combinations of different chemicals in our bodies and the effects on them.
Most of us think that toxic substances are just “out there” and don’t affect us. But once a toxic substance enters our bodies they stay in our bodies, especially in our fat tissue.
One study found that 100% of the people tested had toxic styrene in their fat tissue from drinking our of Styrofoam cups. Another study found that 100% of people tested had a chemical 1, 4-Dichlorobenzene which is used in household deodorizers.
Another study called Body Burden done in 2000 found that an average of 91 industrial compounds in the bodies of the volunteers. And of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause cancer in humans and animals, 94 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 cause birth defects or abnormal development. These people like you and I were just exposed to the chemicals in their everyday lives. This test was done by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

All the information came from the pamphlet "Let's Stop Poisoning Our Children", by Debra Lynn Dadd.

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