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Health & Safety

Toxic Substances and Public Health

Toxic SubstanceToxic substances are a real threat to public health. Toxins are present in homes, workplaces, and in the environment. Most toxic substance exposures can be prevented by knowing what the most common toxins are, how to properly use them, and where to find information if someone has been exposed to the chemicals.

There are many organizations that are committed to protecting public health by preventing toxic exposure. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is one of the leaders in educating the public about hazardous chemicals. Their web site provides information for both the general public, researchers, and medical professionals. Another agency, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, works to protect the public and environment from toxin substances.

Many of the most dangerous toxins are found in the home. Xemdar.com has information about household toxins, including risks to children. They also have information about safer alternatives for many potentially dangerous products around the home.

Environmental toxins are often overlooked, but are just as much of a danger as other chemical hazards. These are toxins that pollute air quality, either indoors or out, and they are often difficult to detect or avoid. WebMD.com lists and explains several common environmental toxins, and also offers treatment and prevention facts.

Toxic substances can be a considerable risk to public health. They may cause cancer, infertility, and even death. The potential risk to children is discussed on the Social Work Today website. Toxins can have an equally devastating affect on men and women. The effects of several toxins on women's health is a matter of serious concern, according to About.com.

Treatment for toxic substance exposure is generally done at hospitals and other medical centers. If you suspect that someone, most commonly a child, has ingested or has had other contact with something potentially poisonous, call Poison control immediately—the number is 1-800-222-1222 in most areas.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) web site has more information about the prevention and treatment of health concerns caused by hazardous materials and environmental toxins.

Knowing how to properly label and dispose of toxins is one of the best steps to reducing the risk to public health. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety at the University of Minnesota has a list of guidelines for waste management for schools, labs, and businesses that handle a high volume of toxic waste. There are several companies that specialize in picking up these wastes and properly disposing of them. Many of these companies also are trained to clean up chemical spills. The directory at Business.com has a listing of several of these companies.

Preventing toxic substance exposure is done through education and care. The University of Utah has a comprehensive list of resources for learning about toxic substances at their Educational Services website. They have links to many of the best toxic substance websites, providing a great resource for those who want to learn more.

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