Toxicology

Toxicology is the study of the impacts of chemicals (as drugs, food additives and environmental contaminants) on both humans and the environment.   The Industrial Revolution of the mid-19th century released many naturally-occurring chemicals into the environment in unprecedented amounts and resulted in the production of thousands of new substances. Results from toxicity studies support drug, food and industrial chemical regulation, remediation, and production.  Although past practices focused on exposures of high doses to single chemicals practitioners of the science have recognized the importance of evaluating the impacts of low doses, and chemical mixtures as more sensitive biochemical and genomic methods are incorporated into chemical evaluation and regulation.

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Recently Updated
Ricin Last Updated on 2014-06-30 13:49:34 The Director's Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled basic information about the toxin ricin. You can find more detailed information on the CDC's Ricin Homepage. Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury. Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans. It can be in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid. It is a stable substance under normal conditions, but can be inactivated by heat above 80 degrees Centigrade (176 degrees Fahrenheit). Castor beans are processed throughout the world to make castor oil. Ricin is part of the waste “mash” produced when castor oil is made. Ricin has been used experimentally in medicine to... More »
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 »
Pollution Last Updated on 2014-06-28 18:51:13 Pollution is environmental contamination that results in harm or death to living organisms. Most pollution is in the form of chemical additions to air, water or soil; however, in modern times starting in the mid-twentieth century noise and light have been considered as pollution sources. Most pollution is man-made, with natural fluctuations in atmospheric composition, surface water bodies and soil considered temporal gyrations in the Earth's natural history. The chief driver of pollution is the massive growth in human population, which induces the proximate causes of intensive agriculture and extraordinary industrial output. The United Nations and the Blacksmith Institute[1] are two prominent organisations that tabulate locales of the greatest pollution intensity; while their listings do not correspond precisely, the overlap countries that both entities agree are the worst polluted... More »
Ricin toxicity Last Updated on 2014-06-26 19:02:52 The Director's Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled basic information about the toxin ricin. You can find more detailed information on the CDC's Ricin Homepage. Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury. Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans. It can be made in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid. Ricin is very toxic. It works by getting inside the cells of a person's body and preventing the cells from making the proteins they need. Without the proteins, cells die. Eventually this is harmful to the whole body, and may cause death. As with most chemicals, whether or not a person becomes ill after exposure to ricin... More »
Public Health Statement for Atrazine Last Updated on 2014-06-14 12:27:27 This article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by EoE editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the EoE. September 2003 En Español CAS#: 1912-24-9 This Public Health Statement is the summary chapter from the Toxicological Profile for Atrazine. It is one in a series of Public Health Statements about hazardous substances and their health effects. A shorter version, the ToxFAQs™, is also available. This information is important because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present. For more information, call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-888-422-8737. This public health statement tells you about atrazine and the... More »