This chapter describes the basic principles of toxicology and their application to occupational and environmental health. Topics covered include pathways that toxic substances may take from sources in the environment to molecular targets in the cells of the body where toxic effects occur. These pathways include routes of exposure, absorption into the body, distribution to organs and tissues, metabolism, storage, and excretion. The various types of toxicological endpoints are discussed, along with the concepts of dose-response relationships, threshold doses, and the basis of interindividual differences and interspecies differences in response to exposure to toxic substances. The diversity of cellular and molecular mechanisms of toxicity, including enzyme induction and inhibition, oxidative stress, mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, and teratogenesis, are discussed and the chapter concludes with examples of practical applications in clinical evaluation and in toxicity testing.
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