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Toxicants are any form of artificial or human-made toxic substances that are introduced into the environment by human activities. One of the examples of toxicant substances is chlorine. Chlorine is produced by firms that treat drinking water, disinfectants as well as some other chemical industries emitting chlorine gas as a by-product. Moreover, chlorine gas is one of the known hazardous substances since it can affect the immune system, can result in skin and eye damage or irritation, have an impact on the respiratory system as well as affect the functions of the liver (Clark et al., 2013).
Chlorine is hazardous to the immune system of human beings. For instance, when chlorine gas is consumed through either drinking contaminated water or inhalation, it becomes directly assimilated into the bloodstream by the help of mucus or saliva membrane. However, the liver and the kidney cannot filter out the chlorine toxin. Therefore, according to Kacew & Lee, (2013), the immune system makes use of a balance of oxysterols as well as free radicals to keep being healthy. The free radicals are significant to the body since it helps in fighting the organisms that invade the body and that cannot be directly handled. Nonetheless, the presence of chlorine gas in the human body results in the formation of excess oxysterol and free radicals that affects the immunity of the body and can lead to the development of cancer, hardening of arteries, and cholesterols metabolism. Besides, chlorine gas is hazardous in mutating the phytochemicals and estrogen that helps in the hormonal balance of the body and immunity; thus, their functions are affected (Kacew & Lee, 2013). Also, there are organic impurities that are present in the body, which combines with chlorine gas in making the trihalomethanes and chloramine, substances that are carcinogenic.
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When chlorine is inhaled, it can result in severe respiratory system problems. For instance, it can lead to the failure of the respiratory system, and pulmonary edema, among others. Since chlorine gas affects attacks the moisture-rich mucus membrane of the respiratory system, some of the symptoms include mild throat, sneezing, tightness in the chest, weak cough, irritation at the passage of the nasal and throat dryness (White & Martin, 2010). Moreover, chlorine gas irritates the mucous membrane of the bronchi, larynx, nasal mucosa, pharynx and trachea. Therefore, when an individual notice such symptoms, necessary steps should be taken to eliminate and minimize the exposure to chlorine gas.
The function of the liver is detoxification of harmful substance in the body. However, the liver cannot filter chlorine. The unfiltered chlorine then bonds with the organic compounds in the body, forming organochloride. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, (2010), when organochloride is ingested in the body, it is likely to cause cancer. Moreover, organochloride cannot be digested during the metabolic reactions in the body and will remain in the tissues in the body. Additionally, organochloride damages the liver and other major body organs disrupt the hormones of the body and mimic the level of estrogen. Besides, the formation of excess free radicals as a result of chlorine in the body may generate lethal toxins in the body (White & Martin, 2010). Also, such toxins have been further linked to the liver failure and weakening of the immune system. Moreover, the excess free radicals formed in the body can affect and damage the antioxidants of the body such as vitamin E, which is responsible for counteracting the excess radicals for anti-cancer protection (Kacew & Lee, 2013).
Agency, E. P. (2010). Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) on Chlorine. National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/chlorine.pdf
Clark, K. A., Chanda, D., Balte, P., Karmaus, W. J., Cai, B., Vena, J., . . . Svendsen, E. R. (2013). Respiratory symptoms and lung function 8--10 months after community exposure to chlorine gas: a public health intervention and cross-sectional analysis. BMC public healt, 13(1), 945.
Kacew, S., & Lee, B. M. (2013). Lu’s basic toxicology: Fundamentals, target organs, and risk assessment (6th ed.). New York: Informa Healthcare.
White, C. W., & Martin, J. G. (2010). Chlorine gas inhalation: human clinical evidence of toxicity and experience in animal models. Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society, 7(4), 257-263.
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