We try to keep ourselves safe from the harmful things in life everyday. We know to protect ourselves from UV damage, not to smoke, and all the other dangers. But, what about the things that we are never really taught about?
The OSHA website writes about lead overexposure. It states that it is one of the most common overexposures found in industry and is a leading cause of workplace illness. Therefore, OSHA has established the reduction of lead exposure to be a high strategic priority. OSHA’s five year strategic plan sets a performance goal of a 15% reduction in the average severity of lead exposure or employee blood lead levels in selected industries and workplaces.
It is also a major potential public health risk. In general populations, lead may be present in hazardous concentrations in food, water, and air. Sources include paint, urban dust, and folk remedies. Lead poisoning is the leading environmentally induced illness in children. At greatest risk are children under the age of six because they are undergoing rapid neurological and physical development.
Lead adversely affects numerous body systems and causes forms of health impairment and disease that arise after periods of exposure as short as days (acute exposure) or as long as several years (chronic exposure). The frequency and severity of medical symptoms increases with the concentration of lead in the blood. Common symptoms of acute lead poisoning are: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, constipation, difficulty in sleeping, fatigue, moodiness, headache, joint or muscle aches, anemia, and decreased sexual drive. Acute health poisoning from uncontrolled occupational exposures has resulted in fatalities. Long term (chronic) overexposure to lead may result in severe damage to the blood-forming, nervous, urinary, and reproductive system.
There are also several dangerous toxic fumes to be concerned with, such as paint fumes, and welding fumes.
Paint fumes can cause damaging effects to your brain. Since each individual’s immune system is different, it is hard to determine how much exposure to paint fumes it takes to have damaging effects. In most cases, it takes years of exposure to affect the brain. But in some rare instances, a single exposure to paint fumes has left impairment, depending on the level of exposure, current health, and the solvents exposed to. And, of course, there are those who are never affected.
Exposure to welding fumes can cause numerous health problems. When inhaled, welding fumes can enter the lungs, bloodstream, brain nerve cells, spinal cord and other organs and can cause both short- and long-term health effects. Of the many welders who work in factories or in the construction, ironworks, manufacturing, mining, metallurgy, petrochemical, railroad, shipbuilding or steel industries, most suffer from some sort of respiratory illness or pulmonary infection.
In recent years, however, the effects of manganese welding fume exposure on welders’ health have warranted closer study. Even when used properly, manganese welding rods can still emit manganese fumes.
There are health factors when working or if you are exposed in other ways to toxic fumes and/or lead. Protecting yourself by knowing the facts of the damage that can occur due to exposure is your best weapon. There are such an array of types of fumes that can affect our brain and nervous system out there. Staying healthy and taking care of our bodies seems to be getting harder everyday due to the environment, and the nature of our world evolving.