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Impacts of Envrionmental Toxins

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 1639 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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The Toxic Truth

 In today’s day and age, there are a plethora of different things that are destroying the environment. Of course, there are the obvious things such as oil spills and deforestation that anyone can easily see are detrimental to our world. However, what many citizens of today’s society do not realize are the hidden environmental toxins that are the real killers of the Earth. They lurk, unnoticed, in everything from your drinking water to the air necessary for the survival of any living organism. Although it is difficult to stop the tyranny of these masked villains, it is a problem that is up to our generation. Environmental toxins are wreaking havoc on the health of the Earth and the living organisms on it, and we must come together in order to prevent further destruction.

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 In order to analyze the damage that toxins are causing to the world and its inhabitants, one must clearly define what classifies as a toxin. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines them as “small amounts of poisons found in air, water, for, etc.” Although this serves as a fitting definition, it is too vague for this analysis. Therefore, one must use the more specific definition stating that “Environmental toxins are cancer causing chemicals and endocrine disruptors, both human-made and naturally occurring, that can harm our health by disrupting sensitive biological systems.” (St. Pierre). This definition allows us to provide a detailed list of various toxins that are destroying our world.

 In this detailed list, we will find a wide variety of elements and compounds that many average citizens do not realize are harming them and the world around them. In this list we will find heavy metals and individual elements, including chlorine, lead, arsenic, cadmium, radon, fluoride, and so many more. Also included are pesticides and formaldehyde, which are found in more places than one might expect. In addition is BPA (bisphenol A), a widely used chemical used in many aspects of everyday life (Harmful & St. Pierre). Lastly, we have various compounds serving specifically as air pollutants. These include sulphur dioxides, nitrogen oxides, ozone, other various harmful gasses, pollen, and certain natural disasters. (Bhor, Rohit J., et al.). Keep in mind that there are so many more toxins than the ones that have been provided here. However, together, all of these toxins are destroying our environment and we must find a way to stop it.

 As previously mentioned, these various toxins can be separated based upon how they come to exist: those that occur naturally and those that are manmade. In our brief list, the toxins that are considered byproducts of man are BPA and pesticides (Harmful & St. Pierre). Therefore, those that occur naturally include heavy metals and individual elements, formaldehyde, and the air pollutants. (Harmful, St. Pierre & Bhor, Rohit J., et al.). However, although these toxins occur naturally, there are occasions when their exploitation by man is what is causing the problem. It has even been said that humans are the primary source of contamination to the environment (Bhor, Rohit J., et al.) For example, many people know that chlorine can be found in drinking water because it is used in the purification process. What many don’t realize is that this same chemical is often used in many household cleaners. By putting a cleaning chemical in our water, organisms drink it are opened up to a whole new world of diseases that are caused by the consumption of excess chlorine, even getting as severe as a lung collapse. (Harmful). Thus, toxins are both manmade and naturally occurring, and at times, the actual toxicity may depend on how man chooses to use them. Despite that, they are all still detrimental to any living organism.

 First we must consider the damage that these toxins are doing to the environment. For example, let’s consider the aforementioned various air pollutants. Some of them, such as pollen or the ash that lingers from a volcano eruption are purely a part of life, and we can do nothing to get rid of them. However, some, even those that may occur naturally, can become toxic by how they are used by humans. Most air pollution that humans cause is either vehicular, industrial, agricultural, or domestic. What these toxins are doing to our environment are irreversible. Many of the gasses are deemed to be greenhouse gasses that are causing climate change along with ozone depletion. Acid rain and smog, a condition that some city dwellers are all too familiar with, are more effects of some of these terrible pollutants. Finally, we see that crop and forrest damage is yet another effect caused by the havoc of these pollutants that man has made even more toxic (Bhor, Rohit J., et al.). Although the damage already done may be irreversible, we must to something to prevent further damage to our environment.

 Although it may be difficult to always see what these toxins are doing to the environment, it is much easier to see what they are doing to humans. Some of the side effects of consumption are very minor, such as fatigue, nausea, or a sore throat. However, some of the results can be, unfortunately, more severe. Most of the five toxins in our list are considered carcinogens that can disrupt the production and secretion of hormones, cause organ failure and developmental problems, lead to various neurological or cardiovascular disorders, and pose a large risk to the prenatal and postnatal development (St. Pierre). Pesticides, for example, are known to be carcinogenic and may lead to Parkinson’s disease, nerve damage, and a variety of birth defects (Harmful). Even in low-doses, BPA has been found to cause hormone dependent cancers such as prostate and breast cancer, in addition to infertility in both men and women. However, it is some of the heavy metals and individual elements that are notorious for their devastating effects. Radon can not only a cause of lung cancer, but it is the second leading cause of it in smokers and the first in nonsmokers (St. Pierre). Need I remind anyone of the horrific effects of the lead found in the water of Flint, Michigan? It is heartbreaking, sometimes literally, what these toxins have done to the past generations, what they are doing to the current generation, and what they will do to the generations to come if we don’t do something to stop it.

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Clearly, the havoc being caused by these toxins is not something that can be ignored. Therefore, our generation must band together in order to save what is left of our environment so that our children and our grandchildren have a place to call home, and to finally cure the diseases of our world that are byproducts of these toxins. As for the environment, we may not be able to repair the damage that we have already done. It would take generations for nature to adjust to the pollutants that are causing problems for the environment. Even if by some miracle nature did adjust, it would be pointless due to the constant flow of toxins in the environment (890 Carson). Now is not the time to make things better, but rather to stop them from getting any worse (McKibben). When one considers the human health aspect of it all, there are many precautionary measures to take in reducing your exposure to most of these toxins. For example, to reduce your exposure to BPA, you can minimize your use of plastic containers and opt for glass, porcelain, or stainless instead. As for pesticides, you can grow your own produce and reduce the amount of pesticides that someone might use on their lawn (St. Pierre). Of course there are many other precautions one could take, but that is only because these disease are so easily preventable because these toxins are easily preventable.

The problems caused by these toxins is clearly a problem that can no longer be ignored. This is not a problem for just the future generations to come, but for our current one as well. Our generation needs to band together in order to take simple, precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our world and its inhabitants. If we decide not to take action there will be no future. Nature will end. The human race will end. It’s only a matter of time if we choose not to take action. Environmental toxins are wreaking havoc on the health of everything on this planet, and we must stop them from destroying it any further.


Works Cited

  • Carson, Rachel. “”Silent Spring”.” The Language of Composition. Second ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. 888-94. Print.
  • “Environmental Toxins.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.
  • McKibben, Bill. “The End of Nature”.” The Language of Composition. Second ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. 918-26. Print.
  • “Most Harmful Toxins.” Results RNA. BioPharmaceuticals for Health Care Professionals, 2017. Web. NAVAS, Jose M., et al. “Contribution to the Study of the Changes in the Gills of Zebrafish (Danio Rerio) When Exposed to Dioxin.” [“Prilog istraživanju promjena na škrgama zebrice (Danio rerio) prilikom izloženosti dioksinu”]. Acta Adriatica, vol. 57, no. 2, Dec. 2016, pp. 281-293. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=121079318&site=ehost-live.
    09 Mar. 2017.
  • St. Pierre, Brian. “Environmental Toxins: How to Protect Yourself and Your Family.” Precision Nutrition, 06 May 2015. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.


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