In 1961 President John F. Kennedy was presented with a request to create National Poison Prevention Week. A year later, our country celebrated the first official observance of this holiday. Its goal was to educate citizens on the importance of poison prevention while teaching them how to be proactive in their own environments. Now, we celebrate Poison Prevention Week each year during the third week of March. The campaign’s goal is to educate people on the dangers of common hazards in the home or workplace.
Poisoning is the leading cause of accidental injury in the United States. Poisons do not discriminate. They can affect people of all ages, genders and races. This week exists to help educate people on how to prevent poisoning from happening. It is also meant to raise awareness for the dangers they present. There are many preventative measures that can taken. Some reactions to poisons can be cured while other poisons can be deadly.
There are many different potential toxins and poisons that often unknowingly exist. It is very important to be aware of your environment! The list of potentially harmful substances is one that is constantly changing and growing. Being aware of the integrity and ingredients of products used is the first step in keeping a safe environment. Typically, with standard products like cleaning supplies this can be as simple as reading the ingredients and being sure to be cautious when mixing supplies. However, some poisons require testing and professional expertise to locate and remove.
The three main environmental toxins to be wary of are asbestos, radon and carbon monoxide. Each of these three toxins often go unnoticed because individuals who are not professionally trained cannot detect these gases and substance, but their implications can be deadly and harbor life long implications.
Asbestos can be found in an array of applications and is still legally used in the United States. Asbestos was widely used in the the early 19th century because of it’s impressive fire resistant properties. Its widespread use has decreased significantly over the years but it still poses a serious threat because it exists in products and applications that are still being used. To date, asbestos is the only proven cause of a rare cancer, mesothelioma, that affects an individual's lungs and abdominal area. Mesothelioma can take upwards of 30 years to present itself in its victims. If someone is exposed to asbestos it could take at least 10 years for that individual to experience any symptoms. Checking your home and products known to be contain asbestos is very important for maintaining your environments long term integrity due to mesothelioma’s long latency period among other health risks it can cause.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers contributing to thousands of cases each year. It is a colorless odorless and radioactive naturally occurring gas that has the ability to manifest itself in your how through a myriad of ways.
Carbon monoxide has very similar properties and is equally as threatening. It is emitted by things like gas stoves, chimneys, furnaces, laundry machines and kerosene space heaters.
These three toxins are downright frightening and harbor affects that equally as alarming. However, there are so many measures you can take today to ensure that you and your family are safe!
If you suspect there is asbestos in your home you can contact an asbestos abatement professional to inspect and assess your home. This professional will be able to locate any asbestos and determine whether it is dangerous or not.
Radon testing kits are available at many local home improvement stores. They are inexpensive and relatively easy to use and come with user friendly directions and instructions.
Carbon monoxide detectors are the easiest ways to be able to detect if this toxin already exists. To be proactive in preventing a carbon monoxide leak you should have a professional perform yearly maintenance on heating systems and ensure that proper ventilation exists – especially where any gas appliances are located.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance helped me raise awareness for Poison Prevention Week 2017 by spreading awareness and helping to educate individuals about the dangers of poisons, both in the home and workplace. MCA is fighting to have asbestos banned in the United States while raising awareness for mesothelioma. The disease is rare and aggressive, affecting approximately 2,000-3,000 new patients each year, yielding a very poor life expectancy.
About the Author
Brook serves as the Community Outreach Director for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. The MCA strives to raise awareness for the rare cancer, mesothelioma while supporting the banning of asbestos use in the United States.