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Environmental Health: Preventing Exposure to Hazardous Substances Presenters Name Presenters Title Title of Event Date of Event Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Division of Health Assessment and Consultation What is environmental health? Environmental health focuses on
the relationship between the environment and human health. What is environmental health? Environmental health focuses on the relationship between the environment and human health. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) protects human health from the
effects of contaminants and hazardous substances found in the environment. Why is this important to you? Having knowledge about environmental health will allow you to Protect you and your family from hazards in your environment Better understand the results of ATSDRs investigations Know what questions to ask the U.S. EPA, ATSDR, and other
public health officials What is a contaminant A substance that may be harmful to human health or the environment Other terms: Hazardous substances Pollution Toxic substances
We will also be discussing exposure to chemicals. Many chemicals can be hazardous substances. What is exposure? An exposure occurs when a contaminant enters your body through Breathing Touching Eating or drinking Remember, before a contaminant can harm you, it has to enter your body. Not all exposures cause harmful effects
Your general health plays a big role in how much you can be affected by being exposed to a contaminant Other factors include
the type of chemical you were exposed to, the amount of a chemical you were exposed to, how long the contact lasted, how often you came into contact with a chemical, and how the chemical entered your body. Source of contamination Contamination travels via air, food, water, or soil Contamination enters the body by touching, eating, drinking, or breathing it in Person comes into contact with contamination Air, Water, Soil, and Food
WHERE IS CONTAMINATION IN THE ENVIRONMENT? Where is Contamination in the Environment? Air Most air pollutants come from man-made sources Some air pollutants also come from natural sources, such as forest fires and volcanoes.
Air pollution may cause breathing problems Air pollution can also bother your eyes and skin Water Harmful substances enter the water when rain or water washes them into rivers, lakes, streams, or the ground Harmful substances can also be dumped into rivers, lakes ,or streams When contaminants enter sources of groundwater and surface water, they can affect Drinking water Part of the food chain
Human and aquatic life Soil Chemicals such as pesticides can pollute the soil Polluted soil can affect the food you grow and eat and the water you drink Polluted soil can also spread through the air as dust particles. Food Humans may become exposed to contaminants if They eat food or drink beverages that have been exposed to chemicals or other contaminants
Plants and animals become exposed in their natural habitat and humans eat them. Touching, Breathing, Eating, Drinking PATHWAYS Exposure Pathways Touching Breathing Eating/ Drinking
Touching Contact with skin (dermal) Chemicals can enter your bloodstream through the pores, small cracks, or cuts in your skin Chemicals may irritate or burn your skin, exposing it to infection Contact with eyes Some chemicals may burn or irritate your eyes Some chemicals may enter your body through the eye Breathing (Inhalation)
Contaminants that enter the lungs can either have a direct effect on the cells of or the can lung be absorbed into the bloodstream Contaminants that enter the body by include breathing gases, vapors, aerosols, particles, and fibers (such as asbestos) Eating and Drinking (Ingestion) Food or drinks may have chemicals on or in them, and the chemicals can enter your body. These chemicals are absorbed, or taken in, by the digestive system.
Hazardous substances can be ingested if They are on hands, clothing, or hair. They are on food or in beverages. Children eat or drink chemicals or soil (pica) Childrens hands pick up hazardous dusts You play or walk in a contaminated area
Children, Pregnant Women, and Older Adults THE EFFECT OF CONTAMINATION ON SENSITIVE POPULATIONS Do toxic substances affect everyone the same? Some populations are at a higher risk of the effects of toxic substances than others. These populations include Young children Older adults
Pregnant women Children Children: Are closer to the ground Are more likely to put their hands in their mouths May eat dirt Have a limited diet Chemicals may be passed in breast milk Developing tissues of children are vulnerable How to protect children from exposure
Wash hands! Wash toys, bottles, and pacifiers often Keep poisons locked up Keep children away from pesticides, cleaning products, and other chemicals Watch where they play Pregnant and Nursing Women
Levels of immunity among pregnant and nursing women are lower than normal Anything the mother eats, drinks, or touches may be passed to her unborn child Contaminants are passed through breast milk How to Protect Pregnant Women from Exposure Be careful what you eat Eat fish thats low in mercury Shrimp, trout, tilapia, catfish, crab, calamari (squid), & wild
Alaska salmon Wash fruits and vegetables Wear gloves and a face-mask when gardening Have someone else do the painting Use no-VOC paint Avoid using pesticides
Older adults Older adults May have weak immune systems Tend to have more sensitive lungs May be less aware of environmental emergencies May have more trouble moving to a safer place May have poor nutrition How to protect older adults from exposure
Use clear, large print labels on all chemical products Do not store chemicals in food containers Do not store food in chemical containers
Be aware of local concerns At Home, At Work, & At Play PREVENTING EXPOSURES At Home Home built before 1980? Asbestos Insulation Wiring Shingles
Mercury Thermostats Thermometers Lead Paint Plumbing Avoid tobacco use and smoke Cleaning Products
Open window or turn on fan when you clean Store safely away from children Keep in original containers Do not mix different products Read labels and follow directions Alternatives to chemical cleaners Vinegar (mix with water for an all-purpose cleaner) Lemon juice (removes stains, serves as glass cleaner, deodorizer) Baking soda (mix with water for an all-purpose cleaner)
Olive oil (furniture polish) Heating your Home Wood-burning fireplaces Have your chimney checked and cleaned Do NOT burn treated wood Kerosene Heaters Ventilate, follow instructions, and keep 16 away from anything flammable
Dont use gas ovens or burners to heat your home Never use gas or charcoal-fueled barbecues or grills in the house, carport, or garage Install carbon monoxide detectors In the Garage
Find a source for throwing out old oil Use paint thinners, kerosene, and gas with Keepcare products in well marked (preferably original) containers Store all hazards out of reach of children
Use masks, gloves, goggles, and appropriate clothing Never idle your car in a closed garage In the Garden and Yard Take off your shoes at the door to avoid tracking soil into the
home your hands after working Wash Contaminated soil? Use raised-bed gardening, dampen soil to reduce dust Using herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers Use natural products if available Follow directions, calculate correct amount, and dont apply before/after heavy rain
Always wash fruits and vegetables Wash pets frequently At Work Possible work exposures include dust, fibers, chemicals (liquids or fumes), radiation, or biologic agents can be carried with you on Contamination Your hair and body
Your car Your clothes Wear personal protective equipment Shower or change clothes before you go home Wash your work clothes separately Hobbies
Be aware of the chemicals you are using Read the instructions Store correctly & away from children Wear gloves, masks, and other protective clothing Keep work area ventilated Wash your hands! Alternatives: Investigate less toxic alternatives for wood strippers, paints, adhesives, etc.
Summary Contaminants can be found in air, water, soil, and food can enter your body by
Contaminants breathing, touching, eating, or drinking them Contamination must enter your body before it can make you sick Not all chemical exposures make you sick Some populations are more sensitive than others (pregnant and nursing women, children, and older adults) You can reduce your exposure Reduce Your Exposure
Be aware of chemicals in everyday products Be aware of any contamination or pollution around your home or work Wash your hands Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them Read labels that warn you about chemical exposure Reduce Your Exposure
Dont burn treated wood Follow proper disposal guidelines for electronics, batteries, paint, and other chemical-containing products Avoid cigarette smoke Eat fish low in mercury Follow local fish advisories Questions?
For more information please contact Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 4770 Buford Hwy. NE, Chamblee, GA 30341 Telephone: 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)/TTY: 1-888-232-6348 E-mail: [email protected] Web: www.atsdr.cdc.gov The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
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