What are Toxic Fumes?

Unfortunately, we are constantly exposed to toxic fumes due to the serious pollution in our environment. These fumes and gases make their way into our direct environments and homes, too. In urban settings, they are everywhere.

Toxic fumes and gases can be poisonous to varying degrees. Sometimes, they are seriously dangerous to human health. Sometimes they are only present in the air in low concentrations, having lower impact on us. Still, the impact is there and it can accumulate, having a quite bad effect on our bodies.

Symptoms of mild exposure to poisonous gases can include mild headaches, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, nausea, fainting, fever, chest pain, etc. Long-term inhalation or more serious doses of toxic gases can lead to lung diseases, heart diseases, cancer and even death.

Shape Magazine Headache
Shape Magazine

Most toxic fumes are the result of man-made processes and products. They may originate from a wide range of places including our heating and air conditioning systems, emissions from our cars and other motor vehicles, by-products of production and manufacturing in our factories, side effects of chemical processes and even from the smoke given off by cigarettes and candles.

We are constantly exposed to toxic fumes generated by our own modern lifestyle. In order to eliminate some of these toxic gases from our lives, or at least to limit their presence, we need to change our lifestyle.

What To Do About Toxic Fumes?

Unfortunately, we have to be realistic and have to acknowledge that we cannot change the industrial, modern world. We cannot live without the use of fossil fuels at the present time. We cannot stop industrialisation and environmentally unfriendly manufacturing practices and the use of harsh chemicals, overnight. As the humans of the 21st Century we depend on these non-ecological substances, methods and practices.

What we can realistically do is to limit our own harmful, environmentally-unfriendly practices, changing our own attitude toward the environment, being more aware of the adverse health impact of our modern lifestyle and trying to lead a greener and environmentally-conscious life.

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In order to limit our exposure to toxic fumes, we may start to eliminate them from our own direct environments and homes. The following tips may be useful in doing so:

  • Limit usage of chemicals as they generate fumes. These gases may be toxic to the environment and human & animal health.  Some of their impact may not yet be known to us. Eliminate synthetic cleaning products, cosmetics and personal care products from your home and opt for safer, ecologically-friendly products and organic or fully natural alternatives.
  • Limit the use of plastic in your home and in your environment. Plastic always contains phthalates, which are chemicals that may disrupt the hormone system. You may be surprised how much plastic products you may be able to eliminate from your environment, or at least recycle. Let’s start with limiting the usage of shopping bags, plastic bottles, packaging materials and let’s start recycling. Aim to buy products made out of natural materials instead of for a mass-produced plastic version. Even though it is probably going to be pricier, it will be more durable, healthier and kinder to the environment.
  • Ditch artificially scented candles and air fresheners as many of these cheap home scenting agents that emit volatile organic compounds. These may contain formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, limonene, alcohol and esters, triggering allergic reactions. It is a better idea to use organic beeswax candles and pure essential oils to scent your home.
  • Paint can be a problematic substance in your home as it may release toxic fumes. If you can smell the characteristic chemical smell of paint, it is a bad sign that you are and will be exposed to potentially toxic fumes in your own home. Make sure to use a healthier version of paint, which contains no volatile organic compounds.  Alternatively, wax can be used as a finish on wood.
  • Using public transport or a bike instead of going everywhere by car will limit the emission of toxic fumes into the air. It may be a big change in your life to walk or cycle to the nearby shop or use public transport when you go to the office. It may be strange to give up the privacy of your own car for a while, but soon you will realise the benefits both to your own health and to the environment.

Do you have further tips that may limit the release of toxic fumes and gases into the environment? If so, let us know; we would be keen on your tips, too!

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