Toxicology


Alcohol and Alcoholism

Although, chemically, there are many types of alcohol, drinks known as alcoholic beverages contain some percentage of ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, which is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches.  Common alcoholic beverages include wine, beer, and distilled spirits (e.g. whiskey, brandy, rum, vodka).  For this Tox Topic, we will adopt the generally used though imprecise term, alcohol, to refer to alcoholic beverages.  Despite overwhelming scientific evidence attesting to the deleterious and potentially devastating effects of alcohol, the bottom line ...

Read More


When Good Chemicals Go Bad – A Seminar

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) partnered with the Smithsonian Institution’s Resident Associates program in 2011 to present the full day seminar captured in these videos.  Topics included the history of toxicology, general principles, air and water pollution, environmental epigenomics, nanotoxicology, and alternatives to animal testing.  See the agenda below.  Many of the issues discussed can also be found in more recent or upcoming Tox Topics here on the TEF website.   Please note that although the videos are somewhat longer than others on the TEF site, your ...

Read More


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” ...

Read More


What is Thirdhand Smoke?

Chemicals released in cigarette smoke that can stick to clothing walls and ceilings, carpets, draperies and furniture upholstery are referred to as thirdhand smoke.  Thirdhand smoke also includes new chemical products, some yet-to-be identified.   These are formed when components of cigarette smoke react with other constituents in the air and in surfaces on which they are deposited.  Identifying and measuring the various components of this newly-formed “chemical soup” pose a big challenge in addition to understanding their undesirable health effects. Thirdhand ...

Read More


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 ...

Read More


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


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...

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


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 ...

Read More