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What are the health hazards of inhaling industrial chemicals?

Q: I was exposed to uncovered paint thinner (remover) due to which I got irritation in my nose and throat. I had inhaled it unintentionally from very near. Is it safe for the fetus when I was 6 months pregnant, even if I appeared to have these symptoms?

A:Industrial chemicals such as paint thinners or paint removers should all be regarded as potentially hazardous. In all cases (as with orthodox drugs as well) the issues are dosage, repetitive exposure, individual susceptibility and special considerations such as pregnancy, genetic or inherited risks, and any additional exposures to interactive or synergistic chemicals or foodstuffs. All inhalational exposure to industrial or household chemicals can cause temporary airway irritation and some people will develop more severe or prolonged complications such as asthma. Paint thinner may cause dizziness and headache, but if the exposure is limited rather than prolonged or repetitive, the symptoms are temporary and no long term outcome is likely, such as lung or skin damage. However susceptible people should avoid exposure since the long term effects on pregnancy or the risk of malignancy are unknown, although evidence for such possible detrimental complications is not available in reliable studies. The potential hazards of all industrial solvents, volatile chemicals and other agents is a general concern. Direct exposure should be minimized or careful precautions such as adequate ventilation should be assured. These chemicals could damage the environment by having either recognized or unknown effects. Potential hazards, including fires, explosions and other risks in addition to their effects on health, necessitate careful handling and very careful disposal. In fact, the appropriate disposal of industrial wastes poses a major environmental risk and all individuals as well as industries should avoid polluting workers or the general atmosphere and water supply.


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