Download Poison Paradox: How and When Chemicals Are Toxic by John Timbrell PDF

By John Timbrell

No longer every little thing artifical is harmful, and never every thing common is secure. Timbrell's exploration of the darkish aspect of chemistry, written for a lay viewers, is either creepy and academic, laying out how, whilst, and why chemical substances of every kind are toxic. His objective, he writes, is to aid readers kind during the conflicting and unsettling info that surrounds us all to allow them to larger make up their very own minds and stability hazards opposed to merits. He seems at industrially dependent circumstances, akin to Bhopal and Minimata, in addition to pollution within the flora and fauna, together with that toxic delicacy the puffer fish and the plant fungus that ended in the Salem witch trials. Timbrell teaches biochemical toxicology at King's university, London.

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As well as the accumulation of a chemical substance, the effect can also accumulate. This occurs with organophosphate insecticides, for example; therefore agricultural workers using these pesticides should be monitored regularly (see pp. –). Species Other species as well as humans are exposed to chemicals, including drugs (for example, veterinary drugs) and environmental pollutants. Different species of animals sometimes metabolize a chemical differently. Small animals will generally metabolize and eliminate chemicals more quickly than larger ones.

Many of us are bitterly aware of the consequences of accumulation of alcohol: too many glasses of wine in too short a space of time (due to the desirable effects of alcohol) leads to drunkenness followed by a hangover (due to the unpleasant and undesirable breakdown products). All of us are exposed to chemicals daily in our food, both natural constituents and contaminants. Some of the contaminants derive from cooking, while others are naturally occurring substances, such as those produced by fungi, and still others may be man-made environmental pollutants.

Dealing with this. It is called metabolism or biotransformation, which yields a product(s) that is more soluble in water (see box). The more soluble in water a chemical or its products are, the more quickly and efficiently it will be eliminated in the urine. The function of metabolism is to convert a chemical from a fat-soluble substance, for example the benzene present in petrol (see Figure  and box), into a watersoluble one. If the process is successful, the substance is eliminated quickly into the urine within a few hours.

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