Research involving laboratory animals is important to people and to our quality of life. In the past century, most inhabitants of this planet have experienced an unprecedented rise in living standards, life expectancy and personal opportunity, in large part due to the many ways chemicals have been put to work for us. For example, drugs whose effects range from curing previously fatal bacterial infections, reducing the impact of AIDS, minimizing heart disease, decreasing age- related wrinkles, to reducing hair loss are widely available today. The many benefits of the diverse uses of our natural resources are an outcome of careful scientific research and of using chemicals in an appropriate and safe manner. Toxicologists, the scientists who help determine the limits for safe use of materials, use modern technological research methods, including tests on animals, to protect human and animal health and the environment.
What is toxicology?
Toxicology is the study of how chemical substances interact with living systems and affect normal processes, and the use of this information to predict safe exposure levels. Toxicological research and testing helps us to live safely and to derive benefit from natural and synthetic substances while avoiding harm. Toxicologists are involved in the evaluation of household products, medicines and the effects of incidental and occupational exposure to natural and manufactured substances. Toxicology also helps us develop the best treatments in the event that accidental overexposure does occur. What is safe?
Toxicologists know that no substance is risk-free. One fundamental tenet of the science of toxicology is that all chemicals can cause harm at some level of exposure, summed up in the phrase "the dose makes the poison." This means that exposure to a specific small amount of any substance will have no detectable impact on normal biological processes and is considered safe. Some doses actually have beneficial effects, as we all know...
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