The effects chemicals have on the various organs of the human body depend on several important factors:
1. The form of the chemical: Is the chemical a solid, liquid, or gas?
2. The route of entry, or how the chemical contacts the body: is it ingested, inhaled, absorbed or injected?
3. The dose, or amount, the body receives: How much chemical makes its way into the body?
4. The toxicity: How poisonous is the chemical?
Routes of Entry
Another important task when assessing the workplace for chemical hazards is to determine the route(s) of entry the chemicals may take. If we know the route(s) of entry, we can then determine appropriate engineering, administrative, and PPE controls to eliminate or reduce the exposure.
The four common routes of entry are:
1. Ingestion: Do we eat or drink it?
2. Inhalation: Do we breathe it in? This is the most common route of entry.
3. Absorption: Does it pass through the skin, eyes or other membranes?
4. Injection: Does it enter through a puncture or cut?