We are exposed to numerous harmful chemicals in our daily lives. Some are shown in the table of contents when we buy new products, while others are hidden because they are not directly added to the product but transferred from contact with the packaging materials or from contaminated soil where crops are grown. We absorb the substances through the food we eat, the air we breathe and through the skin. Some substances stay only briefly in the body – the short-lived substances – and are excreted in the urine within a day or two, while others – the most persistent of these substances – can accumulate in body fat and organs and are excreted slowly over several years.
Harmful chemicals are found in food, textiles such as clothing, bedding, carpets and curtains, furniture, electronics, toys, skin care products and cosmetics, soft and hard plastics and building materials. Some are suspected to be endocrine disruptors and neurotoxic. This means that they are linked to mechanisms in the body that regulates our hormones, and thus the formation of sex, sexual organs and fertility, cell changes, hormonal cancer and damage to the brain during development.
Who should pay attention to everyday chemistry?
Fetuses and young children are particularly sensitive to these influences when exposed during critical stages of their development. Children absorb higher doses of chemicals due to their high number of breaths per minute, greater skin area relative to body mass, and higher degree of absorption of chemicals through the digestive tract. Therefore, our tests are primarily targeted women who are trying to conceive or are already pregnant as well as families with young children. Adults, however, can also benefit from reducing their daily continuous exposure to harmful chemicals and thereby minimize their risk of adverse health effects such as cancer, decreased sperm count, obesity and other diseases.