Environmental Chemicals

Environmental chemicals include, but are not limited to, prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs; cigarette smoke; solvents; alcohol; pesticides; herbicides; and food additives (see Table 9-1 on page 107). One needs only to visit a suburban neighborhood or home to observe the extent to which potentially toxic chemicals permeate people's lives. One finds lush green and weed-free lawns well-fertilized and pest-free gardens, which are the result of using herbicides and pesticides. There are also sparkling homes with the "fresh scent of clean,'' thanks to the advent of cleaners, grout and tile mildew retardants. And there are shiny vinyl floors still off-gassing in the summer sun and pervasive deodorizing chemicals. These are but a small sample of the total and daily exposure that people in the Western world endure from childhood throughout life. Time spent away from home means additional exposures in classrooms, offices, grocery stores, and cars.

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