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Experimental toxicology

Experimental toxicology, the basic issue part 1

Amr Adel Elnashar

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General reference texts on toxicology may give the impression that the field is simple and straightforward. However, more detailed texts on specific classes of compounds reveal that there are many gaps in knowledge and that the results of toxicological studies can be variable and even contradictory. This is due to the complexity of the interactions between chemicals and living organisms, as well as the difficulty of conducting controlled experiments with toxic substances. As a result, there is often well-founded dispute about the effects of low doses of chemicals, whether or not certain chemicals are carcinogenic, and the mechanisms of action of many compounds.

Nature of Toxicant

The physical form of a compound can affect how it enters the body, how much of it is absorbed, and how toxic it is. The physical properties of a material, such as its particle size, can affect how toxic it is. In general, smaller particles are more likely to be absorbed by the body and therefore more toxic. This is especially true for inhalation toxicity, as inhaled particles can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, asbestos and coal dust are insoluble but can still be toxic because they can lodge in tissues and cause inflammation. When conducting toxicity experiments, it is important to consider the physical properties of the material, such as its particle size, to ensure that the results are accurate.

Liquids do not vary in particle size as much as solids do. However, liquids can form droplets (aerosols) of varying sizes, which can be inhaled and cause health problems. Liquids can also evaporate into vapors, which can also be inhaled. Gases and vapors are easily inhaled and can also penetrate the skin. They can dissolve in liquids or be adsorbed onto solids. Some gases and vapors have a strong affinity for solid surfaces. This property is used in the manufacture of plastic strips containing pesticides, such as dichlorvos.

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Experimental toxicology

Experimental toxicology, the basic issue part 2

Most industrial chemical exposures occur through the skin or by inhalation. However, these risks can be limited and controlled in the workplace.

Amr Adel Elnashar

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