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Environmental chemical threat - Essay Example

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There are a number of chemical threats in the environment that pose a health risk to the general population. In accordance measures are usually taken by organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration who caution the public on potential risks and possible solutions…
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Environmental chemical threat
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Methylmercury can be highly toxic to both human and animals. It is concerned hazardous since it can irritate or damage organs if ingested in amounts that can be considered to be dangerous for the human body. The main source of mercury is air emissions from power generation and other industrial and waste disposal activities, during its movement among the atmosphere , land, and water mercury undergoes a serious of complex chemical transformations. Thus methylmercury is an organic form that is derived from this transformation. As a result sea animals are readily in an environment conducive to ingesting or being exposed to methylmercury. It poses a grave environmental threat since it is not considered to be particularly harmful if ingested in low amounts, however several cases have begged to differ with this notion. Regardless of the ingestion amount found in food consumed that has toxic levels of methylmercury, it cannot be sufficiently be ruled out as a threat that without the needed attention could cause undue harm. Methylmercury builds up in the tissues of fish, larger and older fish tend to have the highest levels of mercury. One can gain exposure by eating fish or shellfish that has levels of methylmercury. This is important to note since as of the year 2005, the seafood consumption in America was 16.2 lbs. Some natural and synthetic chemicals in the environment can harm the human nervous system such as the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. (Miller 243). Methylmercury is known to have caused adverse effects that later on proved to be permanent and this is within proven actual cases. To protect the population against a threat that can be so silent for a long period of time, yet so deadly is the duty of each and every environmentalist. Mercury emissions continue to rise in the environment and this can only mean that it is a growing real threat that should be dealt with accordingly.
Women and children are the most vulnerable to methylmercury effects. A recent study by the National Academy of Science concluded that the population at highest risk is the children of women who consume large amounts of fish and seafood during pregnancy, and that the risk to that population is likely to be sufficient to result in an increase in the number of children who have struggle to keep up in school and who might require remedial classes or special education (EPA).Mackerel, sharks, swordfish, and tilefish have high levels of methylmercury. Thus this is a fact that every pregnant woman should be made aware of by their attending obstetrician. Developmental effects caused due to intake of methylmercury can cause cognitive development problems that would result in inadequate development of a child's brain. Methylmercury and metallic mercury vapors are more harmful than other forms, because mercury in these forms reaches the brain (ATSDR). This undoubtedly puts pregnant women at a higher risk of harming their children, and it is possible that seafood is the reason for the increasing number of children born with cognitive development problems. Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys and developing fetus (ATSDR). Thus the goal is not only to avoid these adverse effects , but to inform pregnant women of the potential risks involved if they ingest seafood. It is highly unlikely ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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