What is Toxicology?
The NIH defines toxicology as a field of science that helps us better understand the harmful effects that chemicals, substances, or situations can have on people, animals and the environment. This includes the prevention and elimination of adverse effects. Toxicology explores resulting and potential harmful effects of biochemicals and the functional relation to exposure (or dose). By evaluating the cellular biochemical and molecular mechanisms of action one can effectively assess the harmful components of a toxin (toxic substance produced by biological systems) or a toxicant (toxic substance produced by human-made activities).
There are a variety of different subsets of toxicology including (but not limited to) the following:
- Forensic toxicology: combination of analytic chemistry and fundamental toxicological principles
- Clinical toxicology: within the context of medical science concerned with disease caused by an associated toxic substance
- Veterinary toxicology: study of diagnosis and treatment of animal poisonings including the transmission of toxin from animals to humans via milk, meat, fish, food stuff, etc.
- Environmental toxicology: presence of toxicants (metabolites and degradation products) in the environment and their effects on humans and animals
- Industrial toxicology: study of a specific area of environmental toxicology associated with manufacturing, production and harmful effects in the workplace
- Analytical toxicology: detection and assay of poisonous chemicals including their metabolites that could affect the biological system
This blog aims to highlight specific toxins of personal interest while also evaluating where it is sourced, signs and symptoms of exposure, biotransformation and treatment methods, amongst many others. I encourage you to explore this site while being inspired to investigate these items in greater depth. Enjoy!
- Eaton DL, Gilbert SG. Principles of Toxicology. In: Klaassen CD. eds. Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons, Eighth Edition. McGraw-Hill; Accessed July 30, 2020. https://accesspharmacy-mhmedical-com.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/content.aspx?bookid=958§ionid=53483721