Ecotoxicology

Ecotoxicology is the environmental science sub-discipline that melds the fields of ecology and toxicology. The word derives from the Greek words eīkos (meaning household), toxicos (meaning poisonous), and logia (meaning study of). Its focus concerns monitoring, investigation and assessment of adverse effects of chemical (and radiological) substances on ecological systems and their biotic components and processes.

 

Major issues addressed by ecotoxicological studies include chemical substance transport (that is, their movement in the environment), fate (for example, biotransformation), and effects (examples include lethality, endocrine disruption and bioaccumulation) within ecological systems. Biomonitoring is an important tool in ecotoxicology for humans as well as wildlife.

 

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Selenium Last Updated on 2014-06-29 16:59:07 Selenium is a gray, metallic element. Its atomic number is 34 and its symbol is Se. The Swedish scientist Jons Jacob Berzelius discovered selenium in 1817. In studying the sulfuric acid produced in a particular Swedish factory, he discovered an impurity which he eventually identified as selenium. Selenium occurs in three distinct forms: as a non-crystalline, gray metal; it can form as a deep red to black powder; and it can form as red crystals. It is stable in air and in water. Selenium is actually an important trace element to mammals and some plants. Too much selenium in a mammal’s diet is poisonous and has been shown to cause deformities. When there is not enough selenium, a mammal can also have health problems. For example, sheep that graze in areas with too little selenium in the soil eventually have a problem known as “white muscle disease.” Lack of selenium... More »
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