Risk Assessment


Threshold of Toxicological Concern

Level of Exposure
  Estimating Potential for Harm:  The Threshold of Toxicological Concern  Background Whether it’s a man-made or a naturally occurring chemical, we don’t always have a lot of data on its potential toxicity.  Some of these chemicals can occur at very low levels in nature or in products.  But given our ever-increasing ability to measure very low amounts of chemical exposure we have a need to be able to make judgements about potential for harm and prioritizing which chemicals need further toxicity studies.  So how does a toxicologist go about prioritiz...

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Basics of Dose-Response

Introduction: You have just moved into your dream house and discover a secret room which you hadn’t noticed before and which escaped the notice of your home inspection. Once you gain access, you discover numerous amber colored bottles with the traditional skull and crossbones logo emblazoned upon the bottles. You’re rightfully concerned.  Is your house now contaminated and are you at risk to live there?  This Tox Topic was developed to help you understand how to think about potential exposure to chemicals.  By understanding these key concepts, you’ll be better ...

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Hazard vs Risk

Many people find it confusing when toxicologists and others talk about hazard versus risk.  To many, they seem to mean the same thing.  They don’t, and assuming they do can lead people to unnecessarily fear ingredients and other chemicals.  This tox topic is intended to help you understand the differences between hazard and risk and why knowing the difference is important to your health and your effort to keep yourself and your family safe from harmful exposures. Let’s start with definitions. Hazard:  A potential source of danger/harm.  A hazard evaluation ...

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Human Health Risk Assessment

The woman in this photo may not know she risks harming her unborn baby's health by smoking while pregnant. Or she understands that, but she is taking that risk because she is addicted to smoking cigarettes.  Risk assessments are applied to many things we encounter in our daily lives including life-saving drugs, food additives, cosmetics, household cleaning products, pesticide residues in foods, and countless other environmental agents.   This Tox Topic briefly explains some basics of human health risk assessment.   TEF’s “Is It Safe? Evaluating Chemical Risk” ...

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Occupational Safety and Health

Anyone that has been in a high school chemistry laboratory has no doubt noticed the numerous postings stressing laboratory safety.  While there are both physical and chemical hazards in these laboratories, it’s toxicologists that provide information involving hazardous chemicals.  The chemistry lab is a short term experience for the student, but it’s the workplace for the instructor.  Indeed, potentially hazardous chemicals are used in many workplaces. In 1973, Stellman and Daum called the “workplace” a battleground in the war against poisonous chemicals and ...

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Exposures During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

The Toxicology Education Foundation is pleased to be partnering with MotherToBaby/California to expand access to information about medications and other exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.  MotherToBaby (https://mothertobaby.org/) is a service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) dedicated to providing evidence-based information to mothers, health care professionals, and the general public.  OTIS experts create well-referenced Fact Sheets offered in English and Spanish that focus on frequently asked questions ...

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