What is exposure?
The term exposure means coming in contact
with a chemical. There are three ways you can come in contact with a chemical:
- inhalation - by breathing in the fumes of the chemical
- dermal - having the chemical splash or spill on your skin
- ingestion - eating or swallowing a chemical
Knowing about your exposure is very important in trying to find out if a chemical will cause you health problems. It can be tricky because sometimes it can be a long time after you come in contact with a chemical before you get sick. Or, it can take repeated contact with a chemical before you get sick or have a reaction, like a rash.
If you have a reaction to any household products that have been used around your home, you will need to know what to tell your parents about your "exposure" to the product. The four (4) descriptions and example questions below will help you to understand.
- Your exposure is based on how and
where on your body you came in contact with the chemical.
Did some spray from a glass cleaner get on your skin while cleaning the bathroom mirror? Did you accidentally walk into the room where a fogger or insect bomb had just been set off and breathe the fumes? Did you play on the grass after a weed killer was put on your lawn? Were you washing your dog with a flea and tick shampoo?
- Your exposure is based on how long
you were in contact with the chemical.
Were you playing all day on the lawn after a weed killer was used? Did you spend a half hour picking tomatoes after an insect killer was sprayed in your garden? Did you sleep all night in a room that had just been painted?
- Your exposure is based on how much
of the chemical you come in contact with.
How much insect spray got on your arm? Was it a few drops or enough to make a large wet spot? How much of insect powder to kill ants got on your hands? Was it a little on your fingers or was it all over your hands? How much of the container of liquid cleaner spilled on your clothes? Was it a little splash or half the bottle?
- Your exposure is based on how strong
or toxic the chemical is.
Did the spray from a pesticide container brought from the store get on you? Did the liquid from a container of weed killer and water that your Dad mixed together spill on you? What is the "Signal Word" on the label of the container - Caution, Warning or Danger?