Exposure to Toxicants

The work environment together with its biological and chemical hazards plays a significant role in the existence of health effects. Environmental and occupational toxicology can there be described as the application of the ideologies and methodologies of related to pharmacology in addressing the biological and chemical hazards encountered within our surrounding. The primary role of environmental toxicologists is to address adverse health impacts by preventing them at the workplace. Since the workplace often presents contacts to hazardous toxins, occupational toxicologists play the role of identifying the level of exposure combinations and their likely health impacts. This research paper aims at explaining the role of the respiratory system and its susceptibility to toxins. It will also describe humans can be exposed to contaminants as well as analyze the effects of the toxicant. Lastly, the essay will explain a recent issue related to this topic and how it was managed.

The respiratory system is one of the most crucial biological organizations of the human body. Also known as the pulmonary ventilation, this system aids in breathing as well as the exchange of gases between various body tissues and the bloodstream. In this system, air is inhaled through oral and nasal cavities through the Pharynx and the trachea into the lungs. The air inhaled is oxygen. Carbon IV oxide is the exhaled through the same path. When in a contaminated environment, air inhaled can be full of respiratory toxicants like chemical substances and particles. Exposure to these toxicants can have adverse impacts on the system that consists of the lungs, bronchi, trachea and the nasal passages. When the respiratory system is susceptible to these toxicants there can be the development of both acute and chronic conditions. This shows that exposure to occupational chemicals and particles can result in respiratory impairment.

Exposure to these toxicants is possible as a result of various human and natural happenings that produce them. Industrial activities are normally considered the highest producers of toxicant to the environment. For example, incomplete combustion of coal, as well as uncontrolled welding of metals in industries, normally results in the production of Ozone gas. This kind of toxicant has low solubility and when inhaled can lead to irritation of the respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Also, industrial activities like sulfur combustion can lead to the production of Sulfur IV oxide. Such activities should be controlled to reduce the exposure of chemical toxicants in the atmosphere.

Toxicants can have both acute and chronic effects on the respiratory system. Chemical toxicants produced as a result industrial and occupational activities have proven to have the most significant of the respiratory system as well as the human body.  Acute exposure to a substance like the Sulfur IV oxide gas can result in the irritation of respiratory components like the nasal cavity. Also, studies have proven that when air contaminated with Sulfur IV oxide is inhaled and a vigorous exercise is done, there are chances of developing bronchoconstriction. This is as a result of an exposure-response association that can lead to bronchitis.  Also, ozone gas which is the main component in atmospheric smog aggravates asthma, results in breathing complications and increases the incidence and severity of respiratory ailments. Acute exposure to ozone gas can trigger impacts ranging from slight irritations to even death as a result of suffocation. Prolonged exposure to these common respiratory toxicants can also result in structural damage to a variety of organs like lungs and the trachea leading to chronic diseases like pulmonary cancer, fibrosis, and emphysema. Fibrosis is a severe lung complication characterized by the inflammation of the respiratory tract. This leads to difficulty in breathing and even death. Fibrosis can be caused by being in contact with metallic substances like aluminum and beryllium as well as coal dust. Emphysema is an acute and degenerative respiratory ailment characterized by the incomplete expansion and contraction of lungs while breathing. The most common cause of emphysema is known to be frequent and heavy smocking of cigarette. Alternatively, the respiratory ailment can be induced by exposure to industrial and occupational toxicants like cadmium oxide, aluminum, ozone and other oxides of sulfur and nitrogen. Above all, several various toxicants are known to be causal agents of respiratory cancer. For instance, well-known human respiratory carcinogens are asbestos, nickel, and arsenic.

According to the American Lung Association and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ozone and sulfur IV oxide are the most critical toxicants in the country. These toxicants have with time resulted in widespread health concerns. For instance, these toxicants have been proved to be the leading causes of respiratory ailments and deaths in the past two years. Studies have also linked lower birth weights and premature deaths of newborns to exposure of these substances. Relevant agencies like the EPA have recommended a variety of actions to reduce their exposure. Some of them include limiting the use of private transport, opting for cleaner energy as well as conserving electricity. The American Lung Association also recommends avoiding exercising outdoors in the afternoon hours during the summer.

In conclusion, every industrial working environment has toxic elements that when exposed to humans may lead to health impacts. Most of the respiratory complications are as a result of continuous exposure to such toxicants. There is a need to regulate the emission of these toxicants to reduce the incidence of respiratory ailments.


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