Environmental toxicology: Wikis


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Environmental Toxicology (EnTox)
EnTox is a young (1965) and interdisciplinary science that uses both basic and applied scientific knowledge to understand natural and anthropogenic pollutants life cycle and their impacts upon structure and functions of biological and ecological systems. Research in EnTox includes both laboratory experiments and field studies. EnTox wants to answer two main questions [1] (1) How the release pollutant causes harmful effects? (2) What can we do to prevent or minimize risk to biological and ecological system?

Environmental Toxicology2.png

EnTox objective is breakdown into a 5-steps understanding process useful for research/regulation[2]:
• Release of pollutant into the environment
• Transport and fate into biota (with/out chemical transformation)
• Exposure to biological and ecological system
• Understanding responses and/or effects (molecular to ecological systems)
• Design experiments, remediation, minimization, conservation, and risk assessment plans to
understand, eliminate, prevent or predict environmental and human health pollutions situations.


The EnTox confusion

People misunderstand EnTox as a scientific discipline that only focus on chemicals into the environment. Not true. That represents environmental chemistry and chemodynamics. The rich fabric of ideas, core concepts, literature body, technology and ideologies that merge together to develop EnTox is rather a dissimilar process through most educational institutions[3]. This may be the point in case that EnTox is a young interdisciplinary science and controversy regarding what to include in a curriculum is an on going matter of discussion[4].

How to identify the blur lines interconnecting basic concepts

Reading the objectives for each discipline that merge into EnTox should decrease the confusion:

• Classical toxicology protects human (subcellular to individual) from toxic substances at concentration that are harmful.

• Ecotoxicology (ecology + toxicology) want to protect many individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems from exposure to toxic substance at concentration that are harmful.

• Environmental science is an interdisciplinary science that studies the earth, air, water, living environments and social components.

• Environmental chemistry and chemodynamics is the study of chemical sources, reactions, transports, effects and fate in the environment.

Environmental Toxicology4.png

Therefore, although these terms do not mean the same, they are related through a linear logical progression (Pollutant Release-Exposure-Dose-Response Paradigm). EnTox embraces both disciplines: classical toxicology and ecotoxicology. Further, it includes other sciences (read below) to make a more logical approach to understanding and solving real and complex pollution problems that society faces today or will encounter in the future. The interdisciplinary core of EnTox borrows heavily from a range of disciplines such as: environmental science, environmental chemistry and chemodynamics, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular genetics, cell biology, genomics, pharmacology, pharmaco- and toxico-kinetics, physiology, mathematics and statistics, computer modeling, risk assessment, soil science, geology, ecology, meteorology, marine biology and oceanography, limnology, and wildlife biology [5].

What is an environmental toxicologist and where they get jobs/careers?

An environmental toxicologist is a scientist who possesses an interdisciplinary training and uses a variety of disciplines, skills and tools to determine the source, fate, transformation, effects, and risks of pollutants on the environment, wildlife, human health and ecosystems[6].

EnTox get hired by: 1. Academia 2. Government 3. Pharmaceutics/chemicals industries 4. Consulting services 5. Others (non-profits, consumer products, etc). The Society of Toxicology have good information about where toxicologist get jobs (Resource Guide to Career in Toxicology).

Books on the subject

College Level Reading
1. Environmental Toxicology by David A. Wright and Pamela Welbourn (0-521-58151-6)
2. Introduction to Environmental Toxicology: Impacts of Chemicals Upon Ecological Systems 3ed, by Wayne G. Landis and Ming-Ho Yu (1-56670-660-2)
3. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry by Donald G. Crosby (978-0195117134)
4. Essentials Of Environmental Toxicology: Environmentally Hazardous Substances & Human Health by William Hughes (978-1560324706)
5. Environmental Toxicology by Sigmund F. Zakrzewski (978-0195148114)
6. Basic Environmental Toxicology by Lorris G. Cockerham and Barbara S. Shane (978-0849388514)
7. Principles of Toxicology-Environmental and Industrial Applications 2ed by Phillip L. Williams, Robert C. James, and Stephen M. Roberts (0-471-29321-0)
8. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: Theory and Practice by Dennis J. Paustenbach (978-0471147473)
9. Ecotoxicology: A Comprehensive Treatment by Michael C. Newman and William H. Clements (978-0849333576)
10. The State of the Nation's Ecosystems 2008-Measuring the Land, Water, and Living Resources of the United States, by The H. John Heinz III center for science, economy and the environment (9781597264716) [1] or download old version for free [2]
11. EPA's 2008 Report on the Environment (ROE) asks important questions about the status of and trends in the quality of our nations's air, water, land, human health and ecological condition [3]

General Reading (use your critical thinking when reading these books)
1. Environmental Policy: An Introduction by Barry C. Field (1577664280)
2. Understanding Environmental Law 2ed by Philip Weinberg and Kevin A. Reilly (978-1-4224-1739-5)
3. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (0-618-24906-0)
4. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of goods and services by Chris T. Hendrickson, Lester B. Lave and H. Scott Matthews (1-933115-24-6)
5. Risk-Benefit Analysis by Richard Wilson and Edmund A. C. Crouch (0-674-00529-5)
6. Poisoned For Pennies: The Economics of Toxics and Precaution by Frank Ackerman (1-59726-401-6)
7. The Real Environmental Crisis by Jack M. Hollander (0-520-24328-5)
8. An Unreasonable Woman: A true story of shrimpers, politicos, polluters and the fight for Seadrift, Texas by Diane Wilson (1-931498-88-1)
9. Oxygen: The Molecule that made the World by Nick Lane (0-19-860783-0)
10. Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat (0-316-88179-1)
11. Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?--A Scientific Detective Story by Theo Colborn (0452274141)
12. Hormonal Chaos: The Scientific and Social Origins of the Environmental Endocrine Hypothesis by Sheldon Krimsky (0801872529)
13. Pediatric Environmental Health 2ed by American Academy of Pediatrics (1-58110-111-2)

Professional societies

1. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry SETAC

2. Society of Toxicology SOT

3. American Society for Testing and Material -Technical Committee E47 (Biological Effects and Environmental Fate) ASTM-E47 Free membership for EnTox students

Professional journals

1. EnTox [4]

2. SETAC [5]

3. Toxicology and Environmental Health [6]

4. Environmental Health Perspectives [7]

5. Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry [8]

6. Environmental Toxicology & Pharmacology [9]

EnTox related documentaries

1. Heat [10]
2. Poisoned Waters [11]
3. Flow [12]
4. Ghana Digital Dumping Ground [13]
5. Sprawl: A Tipping Point [14]
6. Fooling with Nature [15]
7. Blue Vinyl [16]
8. Epigenetic-the gene environment interaction [17] [18]
9. Carbon Watch: tracking the new currencies of global warming [19]

10. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring [20]
11. Is it safe video [21]
12. Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) [22]
13. Lead in jewelry and toys [23]

Career advice articles

1. Talk about toxic [24]
2. Opportunities Abound in Toxicology [25]
3. Safety First! Careers in Drug Safety and Toxicology [26]
4. Occupational Information Network: A Toxicologist Profile [27]

Searchable tox-related databases

1. EPA HERO (Health and Environmental Research Online) [28]
2. Scorecard: The Pollution Information Site [29]
3. The EXTOXNET & PAN Pesticide Database [30]; [31]
4. Cal/Ecotox Database [32]

Additional resources

1. The best and most complete (free) online EnTox course resource I had found is from University of Idaho. The course title is principles of environmental toxicology and is offer by Instructor Gregory Moller, Ph.D. The link is (http://www.agls.uidaho.edu/etox/index.htm). I suggest if you want to learn good EnTox that take a look to his website and download free video lectures and PDF notes. Students can earn undergraduate/graduate credits when enroll in his online course. The only half point I can deduce from Dr. Moller is in the EnTox definition (I think his definition is incomplete), but his material is a strongly 9.5 out of 10 stars.

2. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) developed 3 free toxicology tutorials at the introductory college level. The main goal of NLM tutorial is for people to understand toxicology concepts that are pervasive on NLM toxicology literature (http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro/toxtutor.html). New to NLM is ToxLearn: an update to and expansion of the Toxicology Tutors. Module I: Basic Principles and Dose-Response is the first module available. ToxLearn modules will be made available as they are completed. Both tutorials will be accessible while ToxLearn is finished.

3. The University of Berkeley webcast page have free courses that help interested people to learn or refresh some biology, chemistry and other basic science topics important for Entox. (http://webcast.berkeley.edu) The website work better if you search it with iTunes (offer more content).

4. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR): A toxicology curriculum for communities trainer’s manual. (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/training/toxmanual)

5. Toxipedia (http://toxipedia.org/display/toxipedia/Welcome+to+Toxipedia)

6. WikiTox (http://curriculum.toxicology.wikispaces.net/)

6. Science in the courtroom program (the sound is below average but the information is good): 1. Toxicology video lecture [33] 2. Epidemiology video lecture [34].

7. Environmental Toxicology Standards - List of environmental toxicology standards developed by ASTM (http://www.astm.org/Standards/environmental-toxicology-standards.html)

See also


  1. ^ Modified from Phillip L. Williams, Robert C. James, and Stephen M. Roberts (2000). Wiley-InterScience, Principles of Toxicology-Environmental and industrial Applications 2ed, p.6.
  2. ^ Modified from David A Wright and Pamela Welbourn (2002). Cambridge University Press, Environmental Toxicology p.4.
  3. ^ David A Wright and Pamela Welbourn (2002). Cambridge University Press, Environmental Toxicology p.16.
  4. ^ David A Wright and Pamela Welbourn (2002). Cambridge University Press, Environmental Toxicology p.16.
  5. ^ Wayne G. Landis and Ming-Ho Yu (2003). Lewis Publisher, Introduction to Environmental Toxicology: Impacts of Chemicals Upon Ecological Systems 3ed, p.1-3.
  6. ^ Modified from Clemson University graduate program of environmental toxicology. http://www.clemson.edu/entox. Accessed on 10/08/09.

External links



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