Biology


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 ...

Read More


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 ...

Read More


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 ...

Read More


Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity Hazards

Any chemical or other factor such as heat stress, radiation, infectious disease or improper diet that causes harm to an adult can interfere with reproduction or a child’s development.  But some factors can cause such harm to the developing child in the womb at doses or exposures lower than those that cause any obvious harm to a potential parent.  These factors are then designated as selective reproductive and/or developmental hazards.  Reproductive hazards can affect fertility by interfering with the normal development and function of the egg and sperm cells, interf...

Read More


BioRAP

TEF has contributed to the development and distribution of curriculum materials, including BioRAP curriculum handouts.  BioRAP (Biological Research for Aanimals and People) was a collection of written materials for inquisitive science and health students and their teachers.   Flyers focusing on genetics research, product safety, cancer, AIDS and risk assessment were developed for use as curriculum resources in upper grades.

Read More


Cell Biology

Essentials of Cell Biology: Toxicology in Action is a dynamic CD-ROM curriculum that used an interactive approach to teach the basics of toxicology and cell biology. Developed by university scientists, the program engaged learners in the study of basic science by demonstrating how cell biology relates to the real world concerns of a working toxicologist. The CD was designed for use in high school and undergraduate college courses and when it was readily available it was free, thanks in part to support from the Toxicology Education Foundation.

Read More