TOXICOLOGY

12th October 2018.

An Introduction                                                                                                         

Toxicology is commonly known as the study of poisons. The subject has been understood and explained in common terms from olden times. Toxicology was noted and in practice from the B.C era. It was connected with plant foods and agriculture products of different time eras. Some plants were found to be toxic or lethal to animals as well as to humans. Humans soon learned that these toxic materials could be used to the advantage to dissuade or eliminate predators or even fellow humans for various reasons. As time passed man learned that poisons are lethal but it depended on the strength and dose of the poison in question. He also understood that some poisons have medicinal properties at lower dose levels and useful for humans and animals. Some poisons were found useful to keep the pests away from the valuable agriculture plants as well as for safe storage of the plant products. As time passed it was found that poisons were also seen in animals. Modern times and industrial developments and the great world wars exposed the poisonous nature of metals, non metals, minerals, many manmade materials, radiation etc. Presently, Toxicology has become an interdisciplinary subject practiced in participation by Biologists, Biochemists, Chemists and Physicists. Further many other specialists like, Ecologist, Environmentalists, Drug designers, Cosmetic designers, Biomedical Device designers, Heavy Industrialists, Various transport designers including Space farers and Designers of Closed environments come into the realm of Toxicology as Man is the consumer of their products or the persons who has to endure the Toxic effects of their end products or bye products.

Classes on Toxicology.

It is planned to bring you a Class on Toxicology, every Friday. Today 2892018,the Topic will be An Introduction to Toxicology. What is Toxicology and the general concept about Toxicology is explained. These classes are meant for the general public, as a tool to get educated about our daily life in this Earth and understand how we are encircled by bad Air, contaminated water and spoiled Soil. Dr. Fernandez, a professional Toxicologist is preparing the content of the Classes and available for your queries and suggestions through the Comments column.

History Of Toxicology

Tracing back Toxicology, is really a retreat through olden literature in Chinese, Greek, Vedas, Persian, French, British etc. Chinese Medicine records that Shen Nung (2696 B C ) tasted 365 herbs and authored a Treaties “Herbal Medical Experiment on poisons.” Homer describes the use of Poisoned arrows in his epics “The Odyssey and Iliad” in 860 B C. Here he enlightens on Tokkicon or poisoned arrows used very commonly on wars conducted during his life period and the root of the word, Toxicology. Hippocrates (400 B C ) in his writings showed that toxins or poisons exerted their effects by getting absorbed into the living system and this could be treated by preventing absorption by various means. In the Treaties “ De Historia Plantarum, 370 B C”, Theophrastus describes numerous Poisonous plants. Nicander of Colophon 185 B. C., physician to King Attalus of Bythnia studied use of poisons, its effects, symptoms of poisoning and the effects of anti dots and nature of recovery or death on prisoners, with King’s permission. The use of linseed for inducing vomiting and sucking of poison from the wounds made by venomous animals are his suggestions as part of treatment. Lucius Cornelius Sulla of Roman empire enacted the first law against poisoning in 82 BC to protect against careless dispensing. The Greek physician Discorides ( 40 -90 AD ) travelled a lot, mostly along with the Greek Army and wrote about plants that have medicinal value as well as that were poisonous. He classified poisons as originating from Plants, animals and minerals. He is the one to suggest emetics as a means of treating poisonous cases especially if the route of poisoning is oral. Ibn Wahshya  (860 -930 ), an Arab Botanist and thinker wrote a book on poisons. Moses Maimonides(1135- 1204 A. D. ) , a Jewish Philosopher and physician wrote about Poisons and their Treatments and criticized some of the methods of treatments of Poisoning, practiced earlier. His writings are considered as earlier notes on the Topic toxicology. Matheu Joseph Benavanthura Orfila  (1787 – 1853) a Spanish Scientist, known as the founder of Modern toxicology, as well as that of forensic toxicology. His book “ Treaties on Poisons” was a breakthrough  Moses Maimonides(1135- 1204 A. D. ) , a Jewish Philosopher and physician wrote about Poisons and their Treatments and criticized some of the methods of treatments of Poisoning, practiced earlier. His writings are considered as earlier notes on the Modern toxicology. Use of poisons in eliminating enemies saw a growth during this period. The beginning of 1900 saw the development of Chemistry in relation to Biology and the idea of mechanisms of action came to the fore. Rudolph Peters of Netherland, studied Arsenic gases used in the wars and came out with Anti Lewisite as an antidote for the exposure. From there on the Development of Science was very fast and embraced almost every aspect of life on earth. Man faced a situation where he has to find out ways to detoxify the Air, Water and the Soil he has to survive. His activities has contaminated even the Space and the two Arctic regions. So the modern world has the most modern techniques to assess the toxicity of any materials and to design a way to use them safely, with out which Human race could not survive for long, to write and read about Toxicity and Toxicology. 

09/11/2018

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