Toxic Substances and Human Risk

Principles of Data Interpretation

Robert G. Tardiff,

Toxic Substances and Human Risk: Principles of Data Interpretation
As society has become increasingly aware of the potential threats to human health due to exposures to toxic chemicals in the environment and the workplace and in consumer products, it has placed increased demands upon the still-fledgling science of toxicology. As is often the case when science is called upon to supply firm answers when pertinent information and fundamental knowledge are lack­ ing, both the scientific and the social issues become confused and new tensions develop. One of the major purposes of this book is to focus on those aspects of the science of toxicology that pertain most to social issues-namely, analysis of risk for purposes of human health protection. Although it is apparent that the discipline of toxicology is not yet prepared to provide firm answers to many questions concerning human risk, it is important that the rigorously derived information be used in the most objective and logical way to yield the closest approximation to the truth. This book is designed to sup­ ply as much guidance for such tasks as is permitted by the current state of our knowledge. Its emphasis is thus placed on interpretation of toxicity data (broadly defined) for assessing risks to human health. In this way, it differs from other basic toxicology texts, most of which emphasize methods for performing studies or describe various toxicological endpoints and classes of toxic agents.

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