toxicology


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toxicology,

study of poisons, or toxins, from the standpoint of detection, isolation, identification, and determination of their effects on the human body. Toxicology may be considered the branch of pharmacologypharmacology,
study of the changes produced in living animals by chemical substances, especially the actions of drugs, substances used to treat disease. Systematic investigation of the effects of drugs based on animal experimentation and the use of isolated and purified active
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 devoted to the study of the poisonous effects of drugs. It is also a division of forensic medicine concerned with the detection of the criminal use of poisons.

Toxicology

 

the branch of medicine that deals with poisons, their effects, and methods of treating and preventing poisoning. Toxicology studies poisons of all types, including industrial chemicals, pesticides, radioactive substances, bacterial toxins, and other poisons of inorganic, plant, and animal origin.

Ancient physicians knew of poisons and poisonings, as seen in the works of Dioscorides (first century A.D.) and Galen. Progress in applied toxicology was furthered by the works of Paracelsus and the emergence of iatrochemistry. As a result of the development of experimental medicine by Magendie and Bernard in the mid-19th century, toxicology was established as an independent discipline by the French physicians M.-J.-B. Orfila, who published a manual on forensic toxicology in 1818, and A. Rabuteau, whose Manual of Toxicology was translated into Russian in 1878. The founders of toxicology in Russia were A. P. Neliubin (1785–1858) and E. V. Pelikan (1824–84).

Modern toxicology is comprised of several independent disciplines. They include general toxicology, which studies the dissemination of poisons in the body, their accumulation in organs and tissues, their biological transformation, their elimination from the body, and the nature of their adverse effects. General toxicology also develops methods for predicting the toxicity of chemical compounds.

Industrial toxicology was developed in the USSR by the Moscow and Leningrad schools of toxicology, headed by N. S. Pravdin and N. V. Lazarev, respectively. Other branches of toxicology are environmental, nutritional, clinical, military, forensic, veterinary, and radiation toxicology. Toxicology uses the research methods of experimental pathology and pharmacology, as well as such specialized methods as inoculation and toxicometry. Toxicology is associated with forensic medicine, occupational hygiene, occupational diseases, radiology, and other branches of medicine.

Soviet toxicology, which has been foremost in the development of criteria for the biological effects of chemical pollution, has established a system of maximum permissible concentrations, as well as methods for the toxicological standardization of raw materials and food products.

Toxicology is taught in subdepartments of pharmacology, hygiene, and internal medicine of medical schools. In the USSR, studies on toxicology are published in the journals Farmakologiia i toksikologüa (Pharmacology and Toxicology, since 1938) and Sudebno-meditsinskaia ekspertiza (Forensic Medical Examination, since 1958). Foreign journals include the Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology (Cambridge, USA, since 1919), Annates de médicine légale et de criminologie police scientifique et toxicologie (Paris, since 1921), and Acta Pharmacolgica et Toxicologica (Copenhagen, since 1945).

REFERENCES

Lazarev, N. V. Obshchie osnovy promyshlennoi toksikologii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1938.
Cherkes, A. I. Osnovy toksikologii boevykh otravliaiushchikh ve-shchestv, 7th ed. Moscow, 1943.
Pravdin, N. S. Metodika maloi toksikologii promyshlennykh iadov. Moscow, 1947.
Zakutinskii, D. I. Voprosy toksikologii radioaktivnykh veshchestv. Moscow, 1959.
Metody opredeleniia toksichnosti i opasnosti khimicheskikh veshchestv (Toksikometriia). Edited by I. V. Sanotskii. Moscow, 1970.
Kolichestvennaia toksikologüa. Leningrad, 1973.
Albert, A. Izbiratel’naia toksichnost’. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from English.)
Toxicology, vols. 1–2. Edited by C. P. Stewart and A. Stolman. New York, 1960–61.

G. N. KRASOVSKII

Veterinary toxicology studies the effects of toxic chemicals on livestock and on animals that are hunted commercially, as well as the causes, characteristics, and conditions of such poisoning. The discipline is also concerned with diagnosis, first aid, follow-up treatment, prevention of poisoning, and veterinary sanitary inspection when poisoning occurs. Of greatest danger for animals are agricultural pesticides. Other sources of poisoning are fodder contaminated by poisonous fungi, and toxic grasses and other toxic substances that contaminate fodder and water. Toxicological inspection is carried out by veterinary personnel and zootechnicians.

The research, organizational, and methodological center of veterinary toxicology in the USSR is the All-Union Institute of Experimental Veterinary Medicine in Moscow. Veterinary toxicology is part of the curriculum of veterinary pharmacology in higher educational institutions, departments, and technicums of veterinary science.

P. E. RADKEVICH

toxicology

[‚tak·sə′käl·ə·jē]
(pharmacology)
The study of poisons, including their nature, effects, and detection, and methods of treatment.

toxicology

the branch of science concerned with poisons, their nature, effects, and antidotes
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