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[Living Green] Safety Column #3 Chemicals threatening your health

by Eco Generation | 12-06-2020 10:58 Comments 2 recommendations 0

Chemicals threatening your health


By Science Columnist Ho-Gwan Ko



There are many dangers around us, including cars, dangerous equipment in playgrounds, stairs, and slippery ice. You are likely to get hurt if you do not exercise caution. Toys or vehicles such as bicycles that are used every day could also be dangerous when you are not paying attention. For your safety, you should stay vigilant.

On the other hand, some unpredictable dangers slowly deteriorate our health. They are chemicals that are everywhere in our lives. In fact, all the materials in the world are chemicals, so we cannot say that chemicals are bad. What we are talking about here are chemicals that have negative effects on the human body.

In the 1960s, American biologist Rachel Carson published a book called Silent Spring. The book is about a pesticide called DDT, which had been used in the US, having harmful effects on the ecosystem and killing many creatures. First appearing in the 19th century, DDT had been used for decades by people without realizing its risks. It was even sprayed directly on the human body. After the book was released, the harmful pesticide was finally banned.

DDT is no longer used, but the dangers of various chemicals still exist today. This is because we still do not know yet how they affect the ecosystem or humans. Some products are made without following safety regulations. Since the effects are cumulative and can deteriorate health or cause diseases such as cancer, rather than being visible or immediate, it is difficult to recognize the risk right away.

Being smaller than adults, children are more easily affected by toxic chemicals. Some unfortunate incidents like the toxic humidifier sterilizer scandal in Korea are difficult for individuals to avoid. However, we need to be more careful not to be exposed to toxic chemicals in everyday life.

For example, recreational equipment in playgrounds and toys may contain high amounts of lead. Lead causes a range of problems including developmental delays and intellectual disabilities in children. We also frequently hear the news that too many endocrine disruptors have been detected. Endocrine disruptors are substances that act like hormones in our bodies and interfere with the normal functioning of the body. They can be released from substances like pesticides, plastics, and paints. In particular, when buying containers for food or products that would touch your body frequently, you need to make sure to check if they have been inspected by a national certification organization.


Safety Column 3 Chemicals threatening your health

▲ Toxic chemicals including insecticides eventually affect the human body through the cycle of the ecosystem.

No matter how carefully you choose your products, it is difficult to be completely free from toxic chemicals. This is because various harmful substances are released even in ordinary houses. You can experience sick building syndrome in newly built houses. Substances such as formaldehyde come from the materials, adhesives, and paints used to build a house, causing health problems such as allergies and asthma.

Concrete releases radon, a radioactive element. Not so long ago, radon was detected in mattresses manufactured by several companies. Radon can cause cancer by emitting radiation. To keep such toxic chemicals out of your home, you need to air out your house frequently to improve the indoor air. In addition, if you have bought products containing glue or paint, it is a good idea to put it outdoors for a while to let chemicals escape from the products before use.

Finally, care should be taken even with healthy substances such as medications like fever reducers and nutritional supplements. No matter how good for health they are, the quantity is important. If you take too many, they are no different from poison.

Since children are smaller than adults, the recommended dosages for children are less than those for adults. When taking over-the-counter medications, they should read the instructions carefully and take the right dosage for their weight. They should also check the expiration date and not take it, if expired. They should not take nutritional supplements for adults without consulting experts. Children may die of poisoning after an overdose of iron supplements. Since they are added with chocolate or candy flavors due to the unique taste of iron, children can easily mistake them for sweets.

Many chemicals made with modern technology make our lives easier. In this convenient world, it is not easy to live without such chemicals. For a healthy life, however, you need to always stay vigilant.


Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Pesticides are being used very widely. A can recall book A silent Spring where the issues of pesticides were illustrated
    Posted 17-07-2020 15:56

Himani Chand

  • Himani Chand says :
    Hello Sir,
    Thank you so much for writing about such an amazing column. I also feel bad that the world is getting addicted to the chemicals without any realizations on how much it can deteriorate our health in the future. Even the pills become the first-hand solution whenever someone gets ill, without thinking about home remedies solution. Nature has enriched us in every way so the solutions for a common type of illness are always in our home but far from our sights, as we are blinded by short-cut medium for curing us and that is medicine. I believe medicines should be given second priority after trying out natural medicines. So, I think awareness related on chemical misuses needed to be made more vivid in the World's context in order to move towards sustainable and resilient health.
    Sir, if this message reaches out to you, I wish to know about the chemicals used in chocolates and also about how much extent we need to consume chocolates by keeping ourselves in a safe line. Are dark chocolates also not good to consume despite its good effects than other market chocolates?

    Stay safe, sir.
    Posted 18-06-2020 21:22

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