Environmental toxins are chemicals or agents in our environment – the air we breathe or the water we drink – that can seriously harm the body. The effects of environmental toxins range from cancer to birth defects. Unfortunately, corporations, manufacturers, and even government agencies may be responsible for releasing toxins, which are essentially poisons, into the environment. Entire communities and families can become sick from these poisons – a phenomenon doctors call “environmental illness.”
Common Environmental Toxins
Environmental toxins are endocrine disruptors and cancer-causing agents. They are mostly the result of industry and manufacturing, but many are naturally occurring. Regardless of their source, they can seriously harm people, animals, and the natural habitat of an area. Some naturally occurring toxins include:
Though these are naturally occurring, they still present serious health dangers. Consider the agony of those in Flint, Michigan, still living with water contaminated by lead. Though it hasn’t made the national news, at least 18 cities in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburg, have levels of lead exposure higher than Flint. Those in the Pennsylvania Department of Health insist that these high levels of lead are a result of lead paint and not drinking water, but the amount of lead present in children tested is disconcerting.
If you are concerned about your drinking water in PA, call the Pittsburg Water and Sewer Authority at 412-782-7554 for a free test kit. It’s also a good idea to run your cold water from the tap for a few seconds – wait until it is actually cold to the touch – before using it. This practice flushes out the water that has been sitting in the pipes overnight, perhaps absorbing toxins.
There are many man-made chemicals that people are exposed to everyday; long-term exposure to certain non-natural occurring toxins can have serious health consequences. A few of these toxins include:
- BPAs. BPAs are common ingredients in much of the plastic people use daily – it makes the plastic harden. They are in everything from sippy cups to traditional water bottles. The FDA, which had initially deemed BPA safe, now has concerns about levels of exposure.
- Phthalates. Phthalates are a common ingredient in children’s backpacks, vinyl floors, and even personal health products. Designers use phthalates to make a product more bendable.
- Pesticides. Pesticides are agents that scientists created to reduce or eradicate certain insects that make food production challenging, or that spread dangerous diseases. Unfortunately, they can also negatively impact human health.
All toxins can have detrimental side effects, depending on exposure and the sensitivities of the person exposed. Scientists know that some can cause cancer, damage organs, or lead to developmental issues.
Protect Your Family From Environmental Toxins
Just like a small dose of poison can hurt a person but not be deadly, environmental toxins are the same. Long-term exposure or excessive amounts of a toxin can have dire consequences, but drinking occasionally from a plastic cup is unlikely to hurt you. Environmental toxins are everywhere and trying to eliminate exposure completely is impossible. There are ways to decrease exposure to these daily toxins. To protect yourself and your family:
- Rely on glass, porcelain, and stainless steel instead of plastic.
- Wash all fruits and veggies thoroughly to rid them of pesticides.
- Avoid products with “fragrance” as an ingredient.
- Have a professional check your home for lead or radon.
- Keep air-purifying plants around, like spider plants or rubber trees.
After Exposure to Toxins in Philadelphia
If you believe environmental toxins in Pennsylvania have caused you or your family health problems, talk to a physician about those symptoms. He or she may be able to test you for certain kinds of toxic exposure. If your fears prove to be true, discuss your options with an experienced environmental toxin attorney in PA.
If your health has been compromised by exposure, you deserve compensation for any resulting medical expenses or lost wages from missed work. Call Anapol Weiss to set up your free consultation. Our dedicated attorneys will examine your case and fight on your behalf for fair compensation.