Safety And Health Topics

The primary function of the respiratory system is to deliver oxygen to the bloodstream and remove carbon dioxide from the blood. Thus, damage to the respiratory tissues interferes with blood/gas exchange that may cause serious high blood pressure malfunction of all tissues of the body, especially the brain and heart.

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Some exert their toxicity quickly while others act over a long period to time . Examples of respiratory toxins are asbestos, formaldehyde, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and silica. Toxins can damage cells of the central nervous system or the peripheral nervous system . The standard toxicology test for corrosivity uses white rabbits with the material applied to the shaved skin. Experience has shown that results obtained with white rabbits are highly predictive of potential skin effects in humans.

Corrosion determined using other species and procedures must also be considered in the decision as to classification as a corrosive. While these criteria are based on laboratory animals that are quite different than humans, the relative response between animals and humans is generally comparable on a per body weight basis. Thus, expressing the effect in terms of kilogram of body weight provides a satisfactory basis for determining potential human effects based on animal research results.

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Respiratory toxicity can occur in the upper respiratory system or in the lower respiratory system . The primary types of respiratory toxicity are pulmonary irritation, asthma/bronchitis, reactive airway disease, emphysema, allergic alveolitis, fibrotic lung disease, pneumoconiosis, and lung cancer.

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Those substances that can cause birth defects are referred to as teratogens. The HCS definition for agents which damage the lung is “chemicals which irritate or damage pulmonary tissue. ” These are commonly known as respiratory toxins.