Insuring Your Health; Learning About Toxic Substances

toxic chemicals Toxic substances are poisons that can have a negative effect on a person's health. They are often dangerous if swallowed, inhaled, and even if the skin absorbs them. These substances can be found nearly everywhere, such as at a person's place of work or in schools. Even at home toxic substances and ingredients can be found in the products and items that people use on a routine basis. To reduce one's exposure to these substances, it is important to learn what they are and how much contact with them is considered dangerous.

One way to educate oneself about toxic substances is to seek out organizations that can supply information about them. A government organization such as the Environmental Protection Agency is an example of where a person can learn more about these substances and what is being done to protect people from excessive exposure to them. Certain states, such as California, also have agencies or departments that are designed to help reduce exposure to toxins.

It is also important for people to understand where they are most likely to be affected by toxic substances. One of the places with the highest risk of exposure is the home. One of the reasons for this is the amount of time that is spent there and the number of times that a person comes into contact with toxic items. Toxic items in the home may include toys, pots and pans for cooking, and even perfumes and toothpaste. Once people discover what items in their home are dangerous, there are fortunately many alternatives that are free of dangerous toxins.

In addition to household toxins, there are also environmental toxins, also known as environmental pollution or air pollution. These dangerous substances pollute both indoor and outdoor air and are responsible for numerous health and environmental problems. Indoor air pollution comes from a variety of sources, such as wood or gas burning stoves or smoking cigarettes indoors or outdoors. Dust and mold also contribute to air pollution. Outdoor air pollution comes from the exhaust of fumes, manufacturing plants, and any item that releases fumes into the atmosphere.

Exposure to these substances can cause either short or long-term problems with a person's health. In some cases, if not treated promptly, it can even lead to death. Common problems that occur as a result of exposure to toxic substances include birth defects, cancer, irritation, or asthma. With the exception of the effect that it has on unborn children, both men and women are equally affected by being around these substances.

When a person suspects that they or a loved one is suffering as a result of toxic substances, it is important to seek medical care. The type and severity of symptoms will help determine how quickly a person should be seen. Most treatments will take place at a medical center, or if necessary, a person may need to go to the emergency room of a hospital. If time is of the essence, due to the ingestion of a poisonous substance, it is important to contact Poison control immediately. The phone number to reach a poison control center in the United States is 1-800-222-1222. This number can be used every hour, seven days a week, even on holidays. It can be used in any state and will route the call to the nearest poison center. The phone number can even be used in the event of a non-emergency, if a person has a question about a poisonous substance.

Once a person has educated themselves about toxic substances, the next step is to improve the safety of themselves and their families by taking action. Families can replace toxic substances in the home with safer options that are better for their general health and for the environment. Toxic substances, such as pesticides and motor oil, should be properly labeled and disposed of. This will reduce any risk to the public and the environment. Proper disposal is particularly important for hospitals and businesses that may handle and discard toxic materials on a regular basis. They should also be aware of companies that can assist them in the safe removal, or cleaning up, of any toxic spills that may occur.

With education and proper care, preventing toxic exposure is something that everyone should take a part in, not only for themselves, but for everyone in their family. Seeking out information from federal, state or even university sources is one of the best ways to learn about toxic materials. In addition, it's also the best way to learn how to eliminate them from one's life.

Ten Common Household Items with Toxic Substances

About the Author: is an avid writer and content specialist for US Insurance Agents. John authors articles and other content for the company's insurance websites. Google+
photo by: Collin Anderson