35 results for author: ToxEdFoundation


Pesticides: The Challenge of Controlling Pests When Balancing Safety with Effectiveness

First let's define pest.  A pest can be almost any living thing considered by us, humans, to be undesirable; for example, insects, rats, mice and other animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and viruses.  Even deer, when they go after your shrubs or vegetable garden, can be considered nuisance animals or pests.  The challenge of pesticide use is to maximize their effectiveness against pests while minimizing their hazards to humans, other animals, and the environment. As with most complex issues, there are bound to be tradeoffs. OK, so what is a pesticide? A pesticide as defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency is “Any substance or ...

Nanotechnology

There is a lot of excitement about nanotechnology.  “Nano” has become a familiar term in the world today but there is often little understanding of what it is.  For example, a poll of 1,001 adults in 2009 found 90 percent of Americans think that the public should be better informed about the development of cutting-edge technologies like nanotechnology (Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies).  We will provide some basics that can help you understand more about nanotechnology and especially about how the safety of products made with nanotechnology is established. What is nanotechnology? Nanotechnology is the phenomenon and manipulation of ...

Pool Chemical Safety

Summer weather often means more swimming pool time, although many indoor pools, spas and hot tubs are used year round.   A number of potentially hazardous chemicals are added to provide continuous disinfection within the water of swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs at all times and to maintain “balance” in terms of pH, alkalinity and hardness.  Consumers who maintain their own pools purchase, transport, store, use and dispose of these chemicals. Pool chemicals are safe when handled properly, but can cause injury when mishandled. There are 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools in the United States (1).    In a study ...

Watch Our Newest Featured Video “Toxicity Today”

In “Toxicity Today” viewers will enjoy a comic taste of the “sometimes not poisonous and sometimes very poisonous” Botox® and the not always as safe as you think overconsumption of water – brought to you by the Toxicology Education Foundation (toxedfoundation.org), a resource for information about chemicals in our world and tips for how we can evaluate health risks while reaping the benefits of medicines and other chemicals. To learn more about Botulinum Toxin and Botox®, Water Intoxication (dilutional hyponatremia), Basics of Dose and Exposure, and Hazard vs. Risk, see those Tox Topics. “Toxicity Today” was produced by Sequel ...

Botulinum Toxin and Botox®

Where does Botox® come from? The neurotoxins produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum1, categorized as types A through E, are the most potent acute toxins known (more toxic than snake or spider venom) and are the cause of the paralytic disease botulism.  C. botulinum, first isolated in 1895, is most often associated with the consumption of contaminated food.  However, it was not until 1946 that botulinum toxins were isolated and purified.  Botulinum toxins, if prepared as an aerosol, have the potential to be potent biological weapons.  One gram of an aerosolized botulism toxin is enough to kill about a million people, and a human toxic ...

Water Intoxication (dilutional hyponatremia)

We all know that drinking enough water is essential for good health.  But ingesting too much water too fast can be harmful and even deadly.  Really!  Excessive water disturbs your electrolytes, and importantly reduces your blood levels of sodium (the fancy word for this is dilutional hyponatremia).   Mental confusion, drowsiness, and seizures are associated with this as water moves into the brain cells.  Severe water intoxication can lead to brain edema, swelling, and death, and occurs most often when excessive amounts are ingested over a relatively short period of time.  But this condition has sometimes been reported after drinking too much ...

Cosmetics Safety

The number of different cosmetic products offered for sale in various parts of the world at any given time is staggering and limited only by the imagination of the talented scientists responsible for their design and development. Hundreds of millions of people use one or more cosmetic products one or more times a day. Use of cosmetics enhances well-being and can improve personal self-esteem.   While there are countless different individual products, most if not all can be conveniently grouped under five categories – skincare, fragrance, haircare, oral care and makeup.   Within these categories there are any number of subcategories – e.g., ...

All Natural! All Safe? Everything is a Chemical

Media sources today are full of stories of chemicals in our food, in our environment, in our bodies.  The basic premise of these stories is that these chemicals, by their very nature as chemicals, must be harmful and therefore avoided.  Contrast this with the counter argument, also quite common in the same media sources, regarding all natural foods, supplements and general cure-alls which, by their very nature as being all natural, must be quite beneficial and at the very  least, not harmful.  This is a great misconception and ignores a simple basic truth that everything is made up of chemicals.  In fact, it is surprising to some people to learn ...

Basics of Dose and Exposure

By way of background, we suggest to first take a look at “All Natural!  All Safe? Everything is a Chemical!”   One key message there is that source or origin of a chemical usually tells you very little if anything about its toxicity or ability to cause harm.   Naturally occurring chemicals are not necessarily any more or less toxic than synthetic chemicals.   For example, grapes contain certain naturally-occurring chemicals that are considered to be part of a healthy diet.   Fermentation is a natural process involved when grape juices turn into wine but, as everyone knows, drinking excessive amounts of wine or any other alcoholic beverage ...

Toxicity Testing: Animals and Alternatives

This topic addresses the general approaches used to evaluate medicines, cosmetics, food additives, household products and other chemicals that workers and consumers are exposed to in their daily lives.   Why is testing necessary? The safety of chemicals must be evaluated to protect the health of the public and the environment.  Veterinary products are also tested to ensure safe use of products for our household pets and livestock.  Testing is required by government regulatory agencies and specific methods are recommended for a comprehensive evaluation before release to the consumer market.    Further testing of environmental samples using ...