“All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison.” 
― Paracelsus  – 1493-1541

 

In modern society, people come into contact with about 50,000 chemical substances, many of which are industrially manufactured and many do not occur naturally. However, one can not say that industrially manufactured substances are necessarily more dangerous than those naturally occurring.

Hazard tells about the ability of a substance to produce an undesirable effect on humans or the environment under the given exposure conditions. A very toxic substance may exhibit poor hazard when used in e.g. a closed system, while a less toxic substance can be dangerous if used in a way that gets many exposed to it and perhaps for a long time. In all, it’s about balance. Everything we come into contact with has a potential toxicological effect on us. It is always a matter of quantity.

Water is vital for all people and it is important that we drink enough of it. But even water can be toxic to our body (even if it is not contaminated) if we drink too much in a short period of time. Water poisoning is a condition where you get too low sodium in the blood because of excessive fluid intake. Sodium is an electrolyte that regulates fluid balance in and around our cells. At low levels of sodium, the cells will begin to swell and the amount of fluid in the body rises. It can cause symptoms like nausea, tiredness, headache, cramps and other discomforts. In case of excessive intake of liquid above 10 L per 24 hours (sometimes less) severe symptoms can occur, such as cramps and unconsciousness. At worst, it can lead to death simply because the vital regulation of fluid in our cells becomes limited or completely stopped. Therefore, water is such a good example that everything can be poisonous to us.

Sugar is not vital but it’s something many people know and love. The sweet taste makes us happy and therefore we are happy for sweet stuff. Sucrose (common sugar) contains equal parts of glucose and fructose. Most of the glucose is burned in the muscles and in all the cells of the body. The fruit, on the other hand, is sent to the liver, where the surplus is stored as fat. In this way, large and especially long-term consumption of sugar increases the risk of many of the lifestyle diseases that have become so common today. This means that sucrose is not as such acute toxic at larger intakes. However, with prolonged consumption of even smaller amounts, serious consequences can still occur.

Medicine, alcohol and drugs are chemicals from our daily lives, which to a greater extent have a toxicological effect on the human body. That means, it is to a greater extent easier to get poisoned with these chemicals. Only relative small doses can have a harmful and even fatal effect. At the same time, long-term adverse effects (even at limited doses) may prove to be severe.

Medicine by itself is designed to help us with diseases, pain and infections and therefore, will be beneficial in the right dosages. The problem is caused by too high doses or any allergic reactions. There are a lot of chemicals in medicine and allergic reactions can easily occur in the body. Too high doses of all medicines may, in any case, be dangerous. The body is constantly in a tight chemical balance and a high dose of, for example, pain medication pushes to this balance, thus causing serious harm to vital organs.

Alcohol is an organic solvent that is not natural to our body. Alcohol poisons the body even at moderate intake and results in reduced motor and mental abilities. Often, the poisoned person experiences a sense of pleasure with less and moderate intake. In case of excessive intake, poisoning will be far more severe. Here the body’s functions can be so severe that it can lead to death.

Drugs in the broad sense chemical substances designed to affect the brain and central nervous system. The chemical compounds are many and rarely quite the same in their structure, no matter what kind of one you use. Both the nature of the chemical compounds and the fact that one can not be sure of the chemical behind makes these euphoric substances very dangerous. Depending on the drug used, an acute poisoning in different ways will have horrible consequences for the body. Some stop breathing, some stop the heart and others may cause the body to overheat.

 

Thus, all beneficial and insidious chemicals, liquids and food can harm us. It’s just a matter of quantity. Exaggerations should be taken care of and preferably the limit of the toxicological ability of a given product. It can be difficult to know what we can tolerate, but in the case of food and other common chemical compounds, the vast majority will have some form of tolerance for these. Heavy allergies are of course the exception here. In such a case, the toxicological effect is increased to such an extent that death can occur rapidly. Compared to this, it may seem quite absurd to ingest chemicals that even in minimal doses are toxic to humans. However, some are necessary – others are not.