Building on the principles of toxicology, this chapter describes chemicals by structure, source, use, mechanism of action, environmental properties, and target organ. Major advances in toxic effects include more detailed understanding of the mechanisms by which toxic chemicals damage receptors at the subcellular, cellular, and organ level. The chapter describes properties of various types of inorganic and organic chemicals and their adverse health effects. It discusses asphyxiants, such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide; heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium; organic solvents, such as benzene and trichlorethylene; pesticides, including chlorinated hydrocarbons and organophosphates; and a variety of other toxic chemicals to which people are exposed in the home, community, or workplace environment. Several cases are presented to illustrate various concepts concerning chemical hazards in occupational and environmental health.
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