Substances harming organs

Some ingredients in beauty, personal care and household products are known to be harmful to human organs, thus causing organ system toxicity. The human body’s organ systems are usually divided in 11 major systems, even though the systems often overlap. As our body is one complex entity, the description of it may vary; sometimes organ systems are combined, more systems are added, and descriptions may vary. Though what is certain – all organ systems can be subject to toxic exposures and it can affect any type of tissue in any organ.

Toxicants affecting the organs can come from a wide variety of sources, not only cosmetics. Examples of other identified sources are molds, latex, dyes, glues, food, medicines, cigarette and tobacco smoke, and physical stress.

The 11 major organ systems

  • Circulatory / Cardiovascular – includes the heart, blood and blood vessels. Transports nutrients and oxygen.

    • Toxins during pregnancy may cause heart defects in children.
    • Artificially sweetened/added sugars are linked to cardiovascular disease.
    • Toxins can affect heart rate, blood pressure, and cardiac contractility
  • Respiratory – Lets in oxygen and lets out dioxide from the body.

    • Both entry and target-organ for toxicants.
    • Toxins could, for example, cause asthma.
  • Digestive – works to digest food – from mouth to bum.

    • Ingested toxins go through the digestive system and normally also through the liver.
    • The liver detoxifies xenobiotics (unnatural chemical substances found within an organism) but can suffer injury, impairment and in worst case hepatic (liver) failure.
  • Urinary / Excretory – eliminates waste products from metabolism and organs via urine, sweat, and feces.

    • This process also removes xenobiotics (unnatural chemical substances found within an organism) from the blood through excretion.
  • Nervous – connects the brain, spinal cord and sensory organs (eyes, ears, tongue, skin, and nose) to the rest of the body through all the nerves.

    • Neurotoxicants can cause peripheral neuropathy, ataxia, parkinsonism, seizures, coma, and death.
    • Undetected mild nervous system depression can progress to psychoses or dementia.
  • Integumentary – consists of the skin, hair, nails, glands, and nerves. It protects the body from damage from the outside world.

    • Children’s skin is more penetrable than adult’s which leaves them particularly at risk for toxic absorption.
    • 90% of all occupational skin disorders are irritants and allergic contact dermatitis. (Read more)
    • Toxins can cause pigment alterations, chloracne, urticaria, and malignant neoplasms.
  • Endocrine – all the glands (ex. thyroid, adrenals, and pancreas) in the body making hormones.

  • Skeletal – Consists of bones, joints, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons in the body.

    • Environmental agents, such as heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, adversely affect skeletal growth and development.
  • Muscular –  composed of skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscles. Provides support, produces heat, and permits the body to move.

    • Exposure to musculoskeletal (skeletal and muscular system combined) toxicants negatively affects the skeletal system causing disorders like arthritis, fluorosis, and osteomalacia.
  • Reproductive – includes all the sex organs like prostate, penis, vagina, and ovaries.

    • Reproductive toxicants may cause changes in sexual behavior, decreases in fertility, or loss of the fetus during pregnancy. (Read more)
  • Lymphatic – consist of the lymph nodes, the spleen the thymus, and other lymphatic tissue, such as tonsils. it fights infections, removes old, damaged or foreign cells such as tumor cells, transports lymph from the tissue fluid to the blood, and transports fat from the small intestine to the blood.

    • Toxicants entering the lymphatics can move through the body with the lymph. The lymphatic system can distribute toxicants.

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