Environmental Toxicology

Environmental toxicology, also known as entox, is a multidisciplinary field of science concerned with the study of the harmful effects of various chemical, biological and physical agents on living organisms. Ecotoxicology is a subdiscipline of environmental toxicology concerned with studying the harmful effects of toxicants at the population and ecosystem levels. It is a field of environmental science that studies how exposure to toxic chemicals can directly change the health of individuals or indirectly affect us by disrupting or defiling the content of lakes, oceans, forests, and the atmosphere. Environmental toxicologists also assess the potential risks of substances that may be deemed harmful to people, animals, or other aspects of the environment.

The Air We Breathe

damage other living organisms such as food crops. particulates. . or death to humans.Air pollution is the introduction into the atmosphere of chemicals. environmental toxicologists have kept detailed statistics on the increasing amount of pollution in the atmosphere and its detrimental effects on human and animal life. or damage the natural environment or built environment. or biological materials that cause discomfort. Since discovering that rates of skin cancer were rising along with evidence that the ozone layer was deteriorating. As an interdisciplinary science studying every aspect of the biosphere. disease. Environmental toxicologists cite evidence of rampant pollution in the erosion caused by acid rain. environmental toxicology has focused on the effect of man-made pollutants on our atmosphere for the past 40 years.

Although phosphorous. environmental toxicology has found evidence that an excess amount of nutrients in runoff from agricultural fields can devastate an aquatic system. Environmental toxicologists investigate these kinds of habitat disruptions and advise on how to resolve them.Aquatic Systems and Excess Nutrients Although we’re taught we should make sure we get plenty of nutrients in our daily diet. . This causes eutrophication in lakes and streams. too much of them can cause a harmful surplus of plant and microbial growth that can choke and kill ecological systems. which is usually the reason behind massive fish kills. carbon and nitrogen are essential to proper growth.

have rapidly contaminated our drinking water. arsenic. lead. consumer and factory waste products.Heavy Metal Since the industrial revolution of more than 150 years ago. and chromium. Creating substances that can counteract the effects of these metals is another facet of environmental toxicology. Some of the more common heavy metals are mercury. . which can accumulate in our bodies. Environmental toxicology researches the amount and effects of these metallic elements that are considered high density and toxic to humans in minimal doses. which erode soils and release heavy metals into our natural water supply.

and excretion of toxic elements in the air or water. An example of this type of research involves the detrimental consequences on human health resulting from the radioactive fallout following the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. they also examine detailed aspects regarding the intake. metabolism. In addition.DNA Mutations Environmental toxicology encompasses a broad area of the sciences and sometimes overlaps with biotechnology. . Research in how environmental toxins can affect DNA structure and produce mutations in both human and animal organisms is another area environmental toxicologists cover.

Some of these harmful chemicals include pesticides. At these times. An environmental toxicologist will investigate the incidences of such cancers and how intensely exposed an individual or groups of people suffering from cancer have been to certain chemicals. the field of environmental toxicology steps in to determine these chemicals’ effects. what we can expect if we continue to use them. and herbicides. lymphomas. solvents. lung cancer. environmental toxicologists are often activists who try to lobby for regulations on these chemicals. The creation of chemicals meant to facilitate our lives sometimes backfires. In addition. and melanoma. and how we might reduce the harmful effects of such damaging chemicals on ourselves and on our environment. asbestos. .The Big C – Cancer A major area of research in the field of environmental toxicology involves how toxic elements released into the environment precipitate the emergence of cancers such as leukemia.

and hopefully this article will help more parents understand the importance of removing environmental toxins from our children's homes. The largest group most impacted by environmental toxins are people who cannot speak up for themselves: unborn babies. .Environmental Toxins When it comes to environmental toxins such as pesticides. I would generally say that most people are ignorant on the subject. and even further to go when it comes to toxins in our environment. we used to feel that way about the food we eat. or depend on the false assumption that if it doesn't kill us on the spot it must not be harmful to us! Well. It's not a coincidence that many people don't give environmental toxins a second thought until they are becoming a parent for the first time. they put their trust in someone else (the government?) to protect us all. newborns. and the "experts" are now admitting that our health depends greatly on the food (nutrition) that we take in (or don't take in). At least we are waking up at some point. and schools: the places where they spend the majority of their time. They either don't have the time to evaluate it. day cares. We still have a long way to go with our current food situation. I suppose. and children.

our children are repeatedly exposed to these toxins. Most parents are not aware of the serious health risks our children face from pesticides and other industrial chemicals.000 synthetic chemicals. The impact on short and long-term health is just beginning to be uncovered. No matter where we live. .Growing Up On Chemicals The scientific advancements of industry and agriculture have brought about the manufacture of over 75. with a marked increase in the use of highly toxic pesticides in recent years.

S. . Their purpose is to kill insects. Sadly. fungus. rodents and other so-called pests. An estimated 67 million birds are killed yearly by pesticides in the U. weeds. they also kill other living things in the vicinity where they are applied.Health Effects of Pesticides Pesticides are designed to be toxic. Thank You. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admits that reliable toxicity data exists for only about 43 percent of chemicals in use today. and less than seven percent of chemicals used in high volume are thoroughly studied.2 The majority of pesticides have not been fully tested for their ability to cause harm to human health.

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