Chemicals You’ve Heard Were Dangerous But Never Knew Why!

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

From a highly toxic element to harmful substances
found in everyday cleaners, today we look at chemicals you’ve heard were dangers but
never knew why. 12. Sodium Hydroxide This inorganic compound is widely used in
manufacturing paper, soaps, detergents, textiles, drinking water, and drain cleaner. Sodium
hydroxide is a highly corrosive base and alkali that can cause severe chemical burns. This
is because of chemical reactions that occur when it contacts another substance. It can
also result in blindness if it comes into contact with one’s eyes. Therefore, protective
equipment and safety clothing must be worn when handling this chemical. When it dissolves,
sodium hydroxide is exothermic as well, meaning it can ignite flammable materials and cause
heat burns. 11. Parabens All of us have heard of parabens, but many
don’t know exactly what they are or what makes them dangerous. They are preservatives
that are commonly used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, and there are several different
kinds. Parabens are often found in things like shaving gels, moisturizers, shampoos,
makeup, and toothpaste, as well as various other everyday items. Some of the more typical
parabens are ethylparaben, methylparaben, heptylparaben, and propylparaben. So far,
no direct links between parabens and cancer have been discovered, but that doesn’t mean
these chemicals are always safe. The majority of paraben toxicity information has come from
single-exposure inspections – meaning there is a single kind of paraben in a single product.
This is believed to be safe as research suggests it poses an insignificant threat to one’s
endocrine system. The issue with these studies is that they don’t take into account the
daily use of several paraben-containing items. Although research points to an extremely low
risk of certain cancers as the result of parabens, it has indicated that the methylparaben in
some cosmetic products mixed with UVB rays from the sun can lead to faster skin aging,
DNA damage, and skin cancer. 10. Glyphosate This chemical is a systemic herbicide – or
weedkiller. It was first introduced to the market in 1974 under the name “Roundup,”
which is still used today. Glyphosate effectively gets rid of a wide spectrum of plants, like
broad-leaved and woody plants, as well as grasses, and is one of the most commonly used
herbicides. Although it has generally low toxicity to people when ingested orally, people
have passed away from a deliberate overdose. Glyphosate also hasn’t been proven to have
carcinogenic effects on people, but a small amount of evidence suggests that it may increase
the risk of cancer in people who are exposed to large amounts of the chemical while working
– such as in agricultural occupations. However, California recognized the substance as carcinogenic
in 2017, and an ongoing case prohibited the state from enforcing product labels on things
containing glyphosate due to the overwhelming evidence that it isn’t a cancer risk. 9. Triclosan Also known as TCS, this is a common chemical
in many products, including detergents, soaps, and toothpaste. It was originally used in
the 1970s as a hospital scrub, but it has greatly expanded since then. TCS is an antifungal
and antibacterial agent that acts as a bacteriostat, meaning it prevents bacteria from reproducing
without necessarily eliminating it. We become exposed to triclosan via skin absorption,
which is common when we’re washing our hands, taking a shower, doing the dishes, or using
mouthwash. This chemical is classified as a “contaminant of emerging concern” because
it is being investigated for health risks. One concern is that TCS has been connected
with higher food allergy risks because exposure to certain bacteria reduces allergies. This
brings us to a more significant danger the overuse of triclosan could result in: bacteria
resistance. Dangerous bacteria such as E. coli can develop a resistance to triclosan,
rendering it useless. 8. Sodium Laureth Sulfate This other common chemical is found in various
personal care items, including shampoo, toothpaste, and soaps, and is an effective foaming agent.
It is produced via a chemical reaction called ethoxylation of dodecyl alcohol, which is
a product of coconut or palm kernel oil. Although most people enjoy foaming soaps and shampoos,
this chemical is a proven skin and eye irritant. Plus, some items that have sodium laureth
sulfate in them also contain traces of 1,4-dioxane, a by-product of the ethoxylation process.
It is classified as a Group 2B carcinogen, meaning it has the potential to cause cancer
in humans. Although the FDA recommends 1,4-dioxane be removed from consumer products, federal
law doesn’t require it. 7. Ammonia This chemical compound is made of nitrogen
and hydrogen and is a colorless gas that exhibits a noticeable smell. It is often used in cleaning
products, such as Windex, because it results in a streak-free shine. Ammonia is listed
as an extremely hazardous substance in the US, and companies that use it in significant
amounts must adhere to strict reporting requirements. Exposure to high concentrations of this chemical
can cause lung damage and demise. What makes it even more likely to affect you is that
since it’s a common household cleaner, people who are unaware of the threat might mix it
with bleach by accident while tidying up their homes. This chemical reaction of ammonia and
bleach creates toxic chloramine fumes, which cause coughing, sore throat, runny nose, watery
eyes, and chest congestion. 6. Trans Fats Everyone has heard to stay away from trans
fats, but most people aren’t sure why. Also known as trans-unsaturated fatty acids or
trans fatty acids, this kind of unsaturated fat is found in small amounts in milk fat
and meat. In the early twentieth century, companies began producing trans fats industrially
from fish and vegetable oils to use in margarine. Later on, they began using it in pre-packaged
snacks and baked goods, as well as to fry fast foods. Trans fats are formed through
partial hydrogenation, resulting in the hydrogen atoms of a naturally occurring unsaturated
fatty acid to move to different sides of the molecule chain. This is called “trans,”
which is Latin for “across.” Since the trans fat’s bond configuration allows the
molecules to pack together more tightly, it has a much higher melting point than other
fatty acids. This means that it is still solid at normal body temperatures. The reason these
fats are used in so many products is that they extend shelf life and decrease the need
for refrigeration. But, the negatives far outweigh the positives. They don’t provide
any health benefits and increase bad cholesterol levels while lowering good cholesterol levels.
So, consuming trans fats can lead to coronary artery disease, and there is no consumption
level deemed safe according to the National Academy of Sciences. 5. Phthalates These are chemical compounds derived from
phthalic acid and are added to plastics to increase durability, flexibility, transparency,
and longevity. Since phthalates are so widely used, most people are exposed to them in some
way. CDC tests indicate that the majority of Americans have end products of this chemical
in their urine. A study done in Sweden in 2012 showed that children can ingest phthalates
through their skin and by breathing. Plus, one’s diet is thought to be the primary
source of ingested phthalates, with common fatty foods containing the chemical. The reason
this matters is because of the adverse health effects that can result from ingesting phthalates.
This chemical is widely classified as an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can prevent the endocrine
system from doing its job properly. This could result in lowered fertility in men, diabetes,
obesity, breast cancer, and immunity issues. 4. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds Quaternary ammonium compounds are created
via quaternization, meaning tertiary amines are converted into quaternary ammonium salts
through alkylation. These chemicals are often used as disinfectants, antistatic agents in
things like shampoo, fabric softeners, and surfactants, which lower surface tension between
two liquids. Quaternary ammonium compounds are thought to work by upsetting cell membranes
and are lethal to various organisms except for endospores, non-enveloped viruses, and
the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. These chemicals can cause a wide range of health
issues from skin and respiratory irritation to corrosive burns of one’s gastrointestinal
lining and skin. They can also cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting, as well as convulsions,
coma, hypotension, and termination. Plus, tests on lab mice indicate that quaternary
ammonium compounds could have adverse reproductive effects. 3. 2-Butoxyethanol This substance is a colorless liquid with
a sweet odor that is used in numerous industrial and household products. It has surfactant
properties and can be used as a solvent for paints. 2-Butoxyethanol is often found in
firefighting foam, oil spill dispersants, degreasers, whiteboard cleaners, liquid soaps,
dry cleaning solutions, latex paints, and many other everyday items. This chemical is
most commonly ingested by humans through inhalation, oral consumption, or absorption through the
skin. Luckily, toxicity is fairly low, and studies indicate that only through long-term
exposure to high concentrations can 2-butoxyethanol result in adrenal tumors in animals. It is
cancer-causing in rodents, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to people; so, it isn’t
classified as a carcinogen in the United States. 2. BPA Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a colorless solid
that is the basis for creating plastics – mainly epoxy resins and polycarbonates. Plastics
made with BPA are used in various consumer products, like water bottles, DVDs, CDs, thermal
paper, and sports equipment. What makes BPA concerning is that it can bind with both types
of nuclear estrogen receptors. Recent studies of the chemical have found possible connections
with BPA exposure and health problems during pregnancy and development. Plus, like phthalates,
BPA has endocrine disruptor properties, which caused the European Chemicals Agency to list
it as a “substance of very high concern” in 2017. In 2012, the FDA banned the use of
this substance in the making of baby bottles as well. But, banning the chemical entirely
is an ongoing debate. 1. Lead & Electrical Cords Lead, as most of you probably know, is an
element of the periodic table. It is a heavy metal and is denser than the majority of average
materials. There’s a good chance you’ve also heard that lead is extremely poisonous
if swallowed or inhaled and damages nearly every system and organ within the human body.
Since lead interferes with proper enzyme function, it can cause extreme problems with the kidneys
and brain, resulting in certain demise. Lead has the ability to mimic calcium, meaning
it can cross the semipermeable border that keeps the brain and extracellular fluids of
the central nervous system separate from circulating blood. It has also been shown to cause miscarriages
in pregnant women and to reduce male fertility. Because of the severe health concerns associated
with lead, precautions are taken to prevent adverse situations. An example of this is
the lead found within electrical cords. Under California Proposition 65, all products that
contain a chemical with the potential to cause birth defects, cancer, or reproductive harm
have to exhibit clear labels warning consumers. Although not all products are required to
have a specific label, electrical wires are. The warning must state that handling the cord
“will expose you to lead,” which is known to cause “cancer, birth defects, or other
reproductive harm.” Using the word “cancer” is the company’s choice but could help them
avoid liability. Currently, only California requires this; products from the same company
being sold in other states often won’t have a warning label. Were you aware of the dangerous everyday products
you have in your home?

6 thoughts on “Chemicals You’ve Heard Were Dangerous But Never Knew Why!

  1. Asbestos: will not kill you but if you inhale it into your lungs you will suffer a painful life. There is no surgery to remove or medication to help. Asbestos doesnt breakdown in heat or cold. It stays in the same state. The lungs will not break it down.


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