The Environment and Human Health
The Dose Makes the Poison
Toxicology is the branch of science that studies the effects of poisons on living organisms. And there is a lot to study, because too much of any substance can cause harm. In the 1500s, the Swiss physician, Paracelsus, accurately observed that the “dose,” or amount of exposure, to a toxin determines whether the toxin will have a harmful effect, and how severe the effect will be. “Dose” refers specifically to the amount of a substance that is eaten, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Obviously, rapid exposure to large amounts of toxins, such as after a major chemical spill, can be harmful. But exposure to relatively low doses of chemicals or radiation over long periods of time also can contribute to the development of disease.
- United States, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Title page from one of National Library of Medicine's acquired works by Paracelsus (Paracelsus, Vom ursprung und herkommen des Bads Pfeffers, Basel, 1576). Retrieved 11-05-2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/paracelsus/collections.html.
Your slide tray is being processed.
Funded by the following grant(s)
Grant Number: R25ES010698-07S1