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Introduction to Toxicology

What is a Poison?
All substances are poisons;
there is none that is not a poison.
The right dose
differentiates a poison and a remedy.

Paracelsus (1493-1541)
Toxicology can be defined as that branch of science that deals
with poisons, and a
Poison can be defined as any substance that causes a harmful
effect when administered,
either by accident or design, to a living organism.
Toksikologi adalah studi mengenai efek-efek yang tidak
diinginkan (adverse effect) dari zat-zat kimia terhadap organisme
Toksikologi Lingkungan : studi tentang efek dari polutan
terhadap lingkungan hidup serta bagaimana hal ini dapat
mempengaruhi ekosistem.
Poisonous substances are produced by plants, animals, or bacteria.


Toxicant - the specific poisonous chemical.

Xenobiotic - man-made substance and/or produced by but not

normally found in the body.
You Know ?
92% of all poisonings happen at home.

The household products implicated in most

poisonings are: cleaning solutions, fuels,
medicines, and other materials such as
glue and cosmetics.

Certain animals secrete a xenobiotic poison

called venom, usually injected with a bite
or a sting, and others animals harbor
infectious bacteria.

Some household plants are poisonous to

humans and animals.
Toxicology Terms
Toxicity - The adverse effects Toksisitas/ toxicity : deskripsi dan
that a chemical kuantifikasi sifat-sifat toksis/efek
may produce. yang merugikan suatu zat kimia.
Dose - The amount of a
Risk (risiko) : besarnya
chemical that gains
kemungkinan zat kimia
access to the body.
menimbulkan keracunan.
Exposure Contact providing
opportunity of
obtaining a
poisonous dose. Hazard (bahaya) : kemungkinan
Hazard The likelihood that the zat kimia tersebut untuk
toxicity will be menimbulkan cidera.
Fundamental Rules of

Exposure must first occur for the chemical to present a risk.

The magnitude of risk is proportional to both the potency of

the chemical and the extent of exposure.

The dose makes the poison (amount of chemical at the

target site determines toxicity).
Routes of Environmental Exposure

Ingestion (water and food)

Absorption (through skin)
Injection (bite, puncture, or cut)
Inhalation (air)
Duration & Frequency of Exposure

Duration and frequency are also important

components of exposure and contribute to
Acute exposure - less than 24 hours; usually
entails a single exposure
Repeated exposures are classified as:
Subacute - repeated for up to 30 days
Subchronic - repeated for 30-90 days
Chronic -repeated for over 90 days
Terjadi melalui mekanisme: perubahan dalam absorpsi
pengikatan protein dan biotransformasi/ekskresi
Efek aditif suatu situasi dimana efek gabungan dari 2 bahan =
jumlah efek dari masing-masing bahan
contoh 1 +1 =2
Efek Sinergistik : situasi di mana efek gabungan dari 2 bahan
kimia jauh melampaui penjumlahan efek masing-masing.
Contoh : 1+1 = 10
Potensiasi : keadaan di mana suatu senyawa kimia tidak
mempunyai efek toksik terhadap organ tertentu, tetapi setelah
ditambahkan bahan kimia lain, efeknya menjadi lebih tosik.
(0 + 2 = 10)
Antagonism : situasi di mana 2 bahan kimia diberikan bersamaan
efeknya saling mempengaruhi. (4 + 6 =8, 4 + (+4) = 0, 4 + 0= 1)
How Does the Body Prevent the
Actions of Xenobiotics ?
1) Redistribution
2) Excretion (primarily water soluble compounds)
- kidney and liver
3) Metabolism the major mechanism for terminating
xenobiotic activity, and is frequently the single most
important determinant of the duration and intensity of toxic
responses to a xenobiotic.
- LIVER, kidney, lung, GI, and others

Note: 1) and 2) are highly dependent upon 3)

How Xenobiotics Cause Toxicity
Some xenobiotics cause toxicity by disrupting normal cell functions:

Bind and damage proteins (structural, enzymes)

Bind and damage DNA (mutations)

Bind and damage lipids

React in the cell with oxygen to form

free radicals which damage lipid, protein,
and DNA
Types of Toxic Effects
Death - arsenic, cyanide

Organ Damage - ozone, lead

Mutagenesis - UV light

Carcinogenesis - benzene, asbestos

Teratogenesis - thalidomide
Target Organ Toxicity

Central Nervous System lead

Immune System - isocyanates
Liver - ethanol, acetaminophen
Respiratory Tract - tobacco smoke,
asbestos, ozone
Eye - UV light (sunlight)
Kidney - metals
Skin - UV light, gold, nickel
Reproductive System
The amount of chemical entering the body
This is usually given as
mg of chemical/kg of body weight = mg/kg
The dose is dependent upon
* The environmental concentration
* The properties of the toxicant
* The frequency of exposure
* The length of exposure
* The exposure pathway
What is a Response?
The degree and spectra of responses
depend upon the dose and the
organism--describe exposure conditions
with description of dose
What is dose response relationship?
Its ordinary relationship for a test or observation, for a
given dose, what are responses of the object of study
(animal or humans), what are the observed effect
(organ structure changes, death, etc.) for a given dose.
What is the purpose of dose
response relationship?
It helps to set safety levels of exposure
for chemicals or toxicants in order to
protect us from possible harmful effects.
Dose-Response Relationship:
As the dose of a toxicant increases,
so does the response.

2-3 Linear Range
4 Maximum Response

Quantal responses can be treated as gradient
when data from a population is used.
The cumulative proportion of the population
responding to a certain dose is plotted per dose--
10-30 fold variation w/in a population
If Mortality is the response, the dose that is lethal to
50% of the population LD50 can be generated from
the curve
Different toxicants can be compared--lowest dose is
most potent
LD50 Comparison
Chemical LD50 (mg/kg)
Ethyl Alcohol 10,000
Sodium Chloride 4,000
Ferrous Sulfate 1,500
Morphine Sulfate 900
Strychnine Sulfate 150
Nicotine 1
Black Widow 0.55
Curare 0.50
Rattle Snake 0.24
Dioxin (TCDD) 0.001
Botulinum toxin 0.0001
Which means that

1 liter of water = 1 kg

1 mg / kg = 1 ppm

1mm3 / liter = 1 ppm

1 mg / liter = 1 ppm
Measures of Toxicity

Toxicity of chemicals is determined in the

The normal procedure is to expose test
By ingestion, application to the skin, by inhalation,
gavage, or some other method which introduces
the material into the body, or
By placing the test material in the water or air of
the test animals environment
Measures of Toxicity

Toxicity is measured as clinical endpoints

which include
Mortality (death)
Teratogenicity (ability to cause birth defects)
Carcinogenicity (ability to cause cancer), and,
Mutagenicity (ability to cause heritible change in
the DNA)
At this time we will discuss 2 measures of
mortality the LD50 and the LC50
Measures of Toxicity:
The Median Lethal Dose
The amount (dose) of a chemical which produces
death in 50% of a population of test animals to
which it is administered by any of a variety of

Normally expressed as milligrams of substance per
kilogram of animal body weight
Measures of Toxicity:
The Median Lethal
The concentration of a chemical in an environment
(generally air or water) which produces death in
50% of an exposed population of test animals in a
specified time frame

Normally expressed as milligrams of substance per
liter of air or water (or as ppm)
Duration of Exposure

Three terms are commonly used to

describe the duration of dose(s)

Duration of Exposure:
Acute Exposure

Application of a single or short-term

(generally less than a day) dosing by a

If toxic symptoms are expressed, they are

referred to as symptoms of acute
Duration of Exposure:
Chronic Exposure

Expression of toxic symptoms only after

repeated exposure to a chemical in doses
regularly applied to the organism for a time
greater than half of its life-expectancy

If toxic symptoms are expressed, they are

referred to as symptoms of chronic toxicity
Duration of Exposure:
Subchronic Exposure
Toxic symptoms are expressed after repeated
applications for a timeframe less than half the
life expectancy of the organism but more
often than a single dose or multiple doses
applied for only a short time

If toxic symptoms are expressed, they are

referred to as symptoms of subchronic toxicity

For pesticides less is more when

dealing with toxicity
The less you need to cause a toxic
effect the more toxic the substance is
Thus an LD50 of 25 mg/kg is more toxic
than is one of 7,000 mg/kg
Words again


Low Risk
Signal Words
The relative acute toxicity of a pesticide is reflected
on the label in the form of a signal word

The (toxicologically) appropriate signal word MUST

appear on every pesticide label

The three possible signal words are

Signal Words:
Caution reflects the lowest degree of relative
All pesticides with an LD50 of greater than 500
mg/kg must display this word on their label
Actually includes two groups of pesticides
those classed by the EPA as Relatively
nontoxic (>5,000 mg/kg) and those classed
as slightly toxic (500 5,000 mg/kg)
Signal Words:

Warning reflects an intermediate degree

of relative toxicity
All pesticides with an LD50 of greater than
50 and less than 500 mg/kg must
display this word on their label
Pesticides in this category are classed as
moderately toxic
Signal Words:

Danger reflects the highest degree of relative


All pesticides with an LD50 of less than 50

mg/kg must display this word on their label

Pesticides here are classed as highly toxic


Legally defined term not just anything you

dont like
Any pesticide with an LD50 of 50 mg/kg or less
Labels must reflect this classification
Label must have the signal word DANGER
plus the word POISON
Label also must display the skull and
crossbones icon
Relative toxicity

Organisms cant differentiate between

natural and synthetic chemicals
Synthetic does not mean toxic or poisonous
Natural does not mean safe or even low risk
Chemicals must be evaluated in their
biological context of behavior in organisms
Mode of action, not source, is the concern of
toxicologists and informed users of pesticides
Relative toxicity

Most herbicides act on biological pathways

not present in humans
Those approved for use in the Region (much
more about these later!!) have LD50s of 50
mg/kg or greater they have intermediate or
relatively low toxicity
Some of the insecticides used are highly
Relative toxicity

Some examples of pesticides and other

chemicals are given to show relative risk of
pesticides in the environment in which we live
This is NOT to trivialize the pesticides
Always treat them with caution and respect
But, have a realistic recognition of their
relative risk in a world of risks
Relative Toxicity:
Are all substances toxic?
All are toxic to some quantifiable degree
Sugar has an LD50 of 30,000 mg/kg
The foresters favorite ethanol has an LD50
of only 13,700 mg/kg
Even water has a recognized LD50 of slightly
greater than 80,000 mg/kg
Relative Toxicity:
The Last Word
Pesticides are chemicals introduced into the
environment to perform a function
The source of a chemical (synthetic vs.
natural) is irrelevant when considering its
Pesticides should be treated with care and
proper respect but so should household
cleaners, gasoline and kerosene, bleaches,
paints and all other chemicals
Menghitung dosis-responsi