Poisoning, Toxicology, Environmental Health

by Sam Malone


Today’s level of poisons humans have to face is a lot more than it was maybe 50 years back. Humans and animals as well are being poisoned through several different means. Though not intentional it is harming the way healthy humans live, also giving way to new and varied types of diseases each day.

Poisoning can be through foods, air inhaled, water, toxins, many different ways. Air pollution is known to be one of the major contributors to poisoning, air due to industrialization and burning of fossil fuels has become harmful enough to give people conditions like asthma and cancer. The toxins in the air are increasing the risk of cancer among adults as well as children alike.

There is a degree of poisoning that a human body can take excessive exposure to toxins and pollutants results into irreversible illnesses like the brain disorders, coma, and death.

Toxicology is a science that studies the relationship of a dose of toxic substance and its effect on the body. This science considers that almost each substance is toxic under specific circumstances, even water is considered toxic, however, passive toxins do not have much effect on the body the way active toxins have, therefore these are considered more dangerous.

The most common way of poisoning other than air pollution is the food. Not food directly but through the pesticides that are used in growing crops. Each year there is tremendous use of pesticides used to grow crops so that the human race can be properly fed through the crop that grows. However, pesticides are proving harmful to the consumers of the food, farmers and workers that use the pesticides. Several governments throughout the world are now using techniques to screen the pesticides being used for growing crop; only those pesticides which are government approved are being used to avoid excessive damage to human and animals alike from food.

Care is also being taken by the government to help farmers induce different types of fertilizers and pesticides in growing crop, this is so that the environmental health is being taken care of, it was found that almost each lake and river in USA was polluted with the fertilizers.

Lead poisoning is another type of hazardous poisoning today, lead poisoning causes symptoms like reduced levels of brain activity, low IQ, low memory, lethargy, and gastrointestinal problems like constipation, diarrhea, weight loss, etc., are due to lead exposure. Excessive exposure to lead can also lead to learning disability among children.

Environmental Health Problems:

Environmental health problems and risks are one of the major concerns today and it is necessary that we immediately recognize and take care of the environmental health issues especially affecting children. This is so with people who travel a lot too as they are exposed to different climatic conditions, altitude, temperatures and water. They have to adjust to the various changes and gear up to cope with it. Each location has its own health hazards and illnesses and even if the local people are immune to it a visitor would need to acquire this immunity either by being inoculated before arriving at the place or taking precautions. Children are more susceptible to environmental health problems.

Environmental Toxicology:

Environmental toxicology is a fairly new field which has come into use about four decades ago. This involves the study of the effects, transformation, pathways and sources of chemicals which are harmful to the environment. The harmful effects of these chemicals extend to organisms, individuals and also to the ecosystem level. The earliest forms of the positive and negative aspects of chemicals could be seen in mercury and arsenic which were used as either tonics or as a poison.

Environmental Health Issues:

Environmental health issues include epidemics which spread like wild fire across the globe and need to be controlled. Avian flu, swine flu, viral infections and gastroenteritis are a few of the diseases which take their toll before they are brought under control by world health organizations. These infectious diseases usually start in the poorer sections of society where health and hygiene are not a priority and people are struggling to make a living and do not pay heed to controlling these issues.

Health and Environment

Human health is affected by the environment and health and environment are a major concern of most public departments in the world. The World Health Organization is one such organization which strives to control diseases from spreading across the globe. The health problems are also because of various factors like biological agents, radiation and the use of chemicals. All these affect the health and the well being of people both psychologically and physically.

Lead Poisoning:

Lead poisoning is a major source of contamination because of the use of this metal in several domestic items and this causes lead poisoning symptoms in children and lead poisoning symptoms in adults. This happens because of increased levels of lead in the human body which interferes with the functions of the body and is toxic for various systems like the nervous system, the reproductive system, kidneys, intestines, bones and also the heart. In children the development of the nervous system is affected and causes permanent behavioral and learning disorders.

Symptoms of Poisoning:

Symptoms of lead poisoning are anemia, headache, confusion, abdominal pain, and in more acute cases it could lead to seizures followed by the person going into a coma and even death. Elevated levels of lead in the body are detected by the changes in the blood cells and in the bones of children which are seen in an x-ray. To diagnose the symptoms a blood test to check the lead levels would have to be done.

Food Poisoning:

Food poisoning is quite common and it is good to know food poisoning remedies to give the person some relief before getting to a doctor as it could be fatal if neglected and timely assistance is not there. Symptoms of food poisoning are diarrhea and vomiting accompanied by severe stomach cramps and sometimes chill and fever which result in severe dehydration because of the loss of body fluids. This happens if the person has eaten contaminated food or had infected water. The immediate remedy would be to stop the vomiting and diarrhea and keep the person hydrated until a physician attends to her or him.

Forensic Toxicology:

Forensic toxicology is the use of a hybrid analytical chemistry for investigations in the field of law. This is done by chemically analyzing various specimens to prove an investigation and find a solution to it. In the case of the death of a person the specimens are collected to find out what the toxins in the body were which might have caused death. For this various body fluids and also the organs and tissues are needed.

Urine Toxicology

Urine toxicology is done to detect the drugs which have been consumed by the person. Sometimes even saliva, sweat and other body fluids are tested for this purpose but urine toxicology is easier to do. This test is not done just for the use of illegal drugs but for many different types of toxicology tests. These tests are often conducted at the work place if the person is suspected of consuming drugs which are not permitted on the premises. These tests are also conducted on athletes to check if they have used any of the banned drugs to help in their performance.

Genetic Toxicology

Genetic toxicology is a study which is conducted to test the safety of certain food additives, chemicals, medical devices and pharmaceuticals before they come into the market for the use of the public. The tests are conducted in various series to eliminate any dangerous toxic effects in the products. Once the assessment is complete and has been certified as safe only then will it be sold in the open market or used.

Chemical Toxicology

The study of the actions and nature of certain poisons is known as chemical toxicology. This assesses the ability of the chemical to cause harm to a body and the hazard which it causes depending on the way it is used. It shows the harmful action which can be caused by administering this chemical in various forms and doses and also by different methods.

Inhalation Toxicology

These tests are conducted for biotechnology industries and also for chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The studies are conducted for different forms of materials like vapor, inhalers of metered dose, liquids, powders and such forms of chemicals. It also surmises new therapeutic uses.


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