The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is a federally funded organization which researches the impact on human health of various chemicals. In short, the ATSDR tells us what makes us sick. Below is a summary of what the ATSDR says about how certain dangerous chemicals threaten our health, and where you are most likely to find them. While most of these chemicals are notoriously found near old industrial sites and landfills, this list highlights other places where they are typically found:
(1) Respiratory System: asbestos, radon and benzene (and other chemicals) found in old insulation, old batteries, industrial degreasers, car exhaust and furnace.
(2) Kidney/Bladder: TCE, PCE, mercury, lead, cadmium (and other chemicals) found in old batteries, cigarette smoke, old paint and plumbing, degreasers, paint removers and dry cleaning solutions.
(3) Cardiovascular system: carbon monoxide, nitrates, carbon disulfide (and other chemicals) found in car exhaust, faulty furnaces, fertilizers, auto parts cleaners and paint removers.
(4) Reproductive system: mercury, carbon dioxide and lead, found in some fish, coal-burning power, car exhaust, faulty furnaces, old paint and outdated plumbing.
(5) Nervous system: arsenic, cadmium, carbon monoxide and cyanide, found in old batteries, pressure-treated wood, car exhaust, faulty furnaces and rat poison.
(6) Immune system: mercury, lead, pesticides, PCB’s and PAH’s, found in thermostats, some fish, old paint and plumbing, unwashed fruits and vegetables, industrial waste and cigarette smoke.
(7) Skin: TCE, PCE, PCB’s, nickel, mercury, arsenic and chromium, found in cement, thermostats, pressure-treated wood, paints, industrial waste and fumes from gasoline and paints.
(8) Liver/Veins: vinyl chloride, carbon tetrachloride and methylene chloride, found in adhesives, auto parts cleaners, paint removers and pipe sealers.
For more information on how chemicals can harm your family, and where these chemicals can be found, please visit ATSDR’s website.