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Chronic Exposure

Last updated: October 14, 2018

What Does Chronic Exposure Mean?

Chronic exposure is a state of continuous or recurring contact with toxic substances or radioactive materials over a long period of time (3 months or more). Exposure to chemicals and radioactive materials at work can cause long-term health effects. At home, some household items containing harmful chemicals may also cause chronic exposure responses in the occupants.

Safeopedia Explains Chronic Exposure

Effects of chronic exposure can be observed some time after the initial exposure. Chronic radiation exposure may cause cancer, tumors, skin changes, genetic effects and congenital defects. The chances of cancer occurring after chronic radiation exposure is many times greater than a genetic effect.

Chronic exposures of a toxic substance (irritants, asphyxiates, narcotics or anesthetics, systemic poisons carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, sensitizers) may have effects lasting over months or years without any apparent symptoms. Chronic exposure to asbestos or tobacco may result in a lung cancer after about twenty years. The effects of chronic toxic exposures are often irreversible and may have far-reaching and deadly effects. The primary routes of entry for toxic substances into the body are ingestion, skin or eye absorption and inhalation.


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