Environmental Toxicology

Topics: Toxicology, Cell membrane, Chemical substance Pages: 7 (1471 words) Published: December 6, 2014


Environmental Toxicology
ENV/410
November 3, 2014
Environmental Toxicology
Every day, each and every individual is exposed to some form of toxicity. This could be in the form of toxic substances, toxic chemicals, or even toxic pollutants in the atmosphere. There are many materials within communities that could prove toxic and hazardous. Many of these substances pose great health concerns. Toxic chemical exposure in the United States can prove burdensome; especially in low-income communities. Most communities are exposed to toxicity through consumer products, pollution from industrial plants, as well as chemical plants. Not only is chemical contamination real, but it is also common. Contaminants in the environment can significantly and negatively impact the environment as well as humanity. The subject of this paper is to identify environmental effects of contaminants, to explain toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, and to explain the primary routes and pathways of exposure for contaminants. The author will also discuss the principal mechanisms in moving contaminants across the cell membrane and the phases of biotransformation. Environmental Effects of Contaminants

On the planet today, there are a variety of chemicals that can negatively affect or contaminate the water, land, air, and even human health. This is because, throughout the years, humanity has introduced a significant amount of chemical substances into the environment. These chemical substances in the environment can cause serious harm. According to Planet Agenda (2014), “Chemicals enter air as emissions and water as effluent. Industrial and motor vehicle emissions of nitrogen and sulfur oxides cause acid rain, which poisons fish and other aquatic organisms”. Harmful contaminants in the environment also affect the soil, making it incapable of supporting plants. Carbon dioxide is a pollutant that leads to more than the usual amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This eventually results in climate change. Contamination from chemical fertilizers and nutrients can runoff of farms and gardens. This, in turn, can lead to a buildup of toxic algae in aquatic ecosystems. When this happens, the waters become uninhabitable for aquatic organisms. Toxicokinetics and Toxicodynamics

When approaching the subjects of toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, there is a difference between the two. According to the National Library of Medicine (2014), “Toxicokinetics is essentially the study of how a substance gets into the body and what happens to it in the body”. Toxicokinetics is primarily the study of the movement of toxic substances. Toxicodynamics, on the other hand, refers to the injurious effects of these particular substances on functions of the body. Toxicokinetics consists of four steps or processes. The processes involved in toxicokinetics include absorption, distribution, biotransformation, and excretion. The absorption step is the step in which the toxic substance enters the body. In the distribution step, the toxic substance moves from the site from which it entered the body, to other areas of the body. Biotransformation is the third step of toxicokinetics. In this step, the body transforms the substance into new chemicals. The final step in toxicokinetics is excretion. In this step, the substances, or the new chemicals, leave the body. Primary Routes and Pathways for Contaminants

Primary Routes
Absorption is the first step or process involved in toxicokinetics. According to the National Library of Medicine (2014), “Absorption is the process whereby toxicants gain entrance into the body”. Within the process of absorption, there are several factors that affect the likelihood that a contaminant would be absorbed. One of these factors is the route of exposure. The primary routes of exposure in which a contaminant can enter the body are the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, and the skin. The gastrointestinal tract is a primary route for...

References: Harmful chemicals in our environment. (2014). Planet Agenda. Retrieved from http://www.planetagenda.com/chemicals.htm
Monosson, E. (2012). Biotransformation. Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150674/
Philip, R. B. (2013). Ecosystems and human health: Toxicology and environmental hazards (3rd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis Group.
Toxicology Tutor II-Toxicokinetics. (2014). National Library of Medicine: National Institute of Health. Retrieved from http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro/toxtutor/Tox2/index.html
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