Ecosystems and Human Health: Toxicology and Environmental Hazards, Third Edition

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ISBN 9781466567214
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  • Provides an up-to-date reference on current environmental concerns
  • Bridges several areas such as toxicology, ecology, environmental pollution, and human health issues
  • Deals with biological hazards in water and food
  • Offers suggested environmental remedies such as lower-emissions vehicles, protection measures for public drinking water, and different types of power generation
  • Relates environmental contaminants to real-world events
  • Includes new tables, color figures, case studies, and many new references
  • Contains student-oriented material such as self-evaluation quizzes and 28 case studies based on real-life situations


Since the second edition of this text was published, many new environmental incidents have occurred, including another nuclear disaster, a mine disaster in the United States, and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Updated throughout the text, Ecosystems and Human Health: Toxicology and Environmental Hazards, Third Edition explores the broad range of environmental and human health aspects of chemical and biological hazards—from natural toxins and disasters to man-made pollutants and environmental crises.

The book begins with the basic principles of pharmacology and toxicology, risk analysis, and air, water, and soil pollution. It then examines various toxicants and hazards, such as airborne hazards, halogenated hydrocarbons, metals, and organic solvents. Chapters also discuss food additives and contaminants, pesticides, hormone disrupters, radiation hazards, and natural environmental hazards such as venomous and toxic animals. The text reviews the Chernobyl nuclear crisis and the Walkerton drinking water tragedy, as well as other disasters, assessing some of their long-term effects, now that sufficient time has elapsed since their occurrence.

With updates in every chapter, this third edition contains significant expansion of information on the genetics of chemical carcinogenesis, global warming, food additives, invasive species in the Great Lakes, nuclear accidents, and more. The book describes how chemical toxins and biological hazards can impact the environment and the people who live in it. The author presents numerous examples of the relationship between ecosystem health and human health. He emphasizes the need to consider the environmental impact of human activities and includes many real-world examples and new case studies.

Table of Contents

Principles of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Some Toxicological Considerations
Mutagenesis and Carcinogenesis
DNA and Cell Repair
Fetal Toxicology
Population and Pollution
Review Questions
Further Reading

Risk Analysis and Public Perceptions of Risk: Risky Business
Assessment of Toxicity versus Risk
Predicting Risk: Workplace versus the Environment
Environmental Monitoring
Setting Safe Limits in the Workplace
Some Important Definitions
Environmental Risks: Problems with Assessment
and Public Perceptions
Some Examples of Major Industrial Accidents and Environmental Chemical Exposures with Human Health Implications
Some Legal Aspects of Risk
Statistical Problems with Risk Assessment
Risk Management
The Precautionary Principle
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Studies 1-2

Water and Soil Pollution
Factors Affecting Toxicants in Water
Some Important Definitions
Toxicity Testing in Marine and Aquatic Species
Water Quality
Health Hazards of Pesticides and Related Chemicals
Acidity and Toxic Metals
Chemical Hazards from Waste Disposal
Toxicants in the Great Lakes: Implications for
Human Health and Wildlife
Global Warming and Water Levels in the Great Lakes
Marine Environment
Biological Hazards in Drinking Water
Walkerton Water Crisis
Review Questions
Further Reading

Airborne Hazards
Types of Air Pollution
Sources of Air Pollution
Atmospheric Distribution of Pollutants
Types of Pollutants
Health Effects of Air Pollution
Adverse Effects of Aerial Spraying
Air Pollution in the Workplace
Chemical Impact of Pollutants on the Environment
Climate Change
Natural Factors and Climate Change
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Studies 3-8

Halogenated Hydrocarbons and Halogenated Aromatic Hydrocarbons
Early Examples of Toxicity from Halogenated Hydrocarbons
Physicochemical Characteristics and Classes of Halogenated Hydrocarbons
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Studies 9-10

Toxicity of Metals
Other Metals
Carcinogenicity of Metals
Unusual Sources of Heavy Metal Exposure
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Studies 11-13

Organic Solvents and Related Chemicals
Classes of Solvents
Solvent-Related Cancer in the Workplace
Factors Influencing the Risk of a Toxic Reaction
Nonoccupational Exposures to Solvents
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Studies 14-16

Food Additives, Drug Residues, and Food Contaminants
Food Additives
Drug Residues
Hormones as Growth Promotants in Livestock
Natural Toxicants and Carcinogens in Human Foods
Herbal Remedies
Natural Carcinogens in Foods
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Studies 17

Classes of Insecticides
Government Regulation of Pesticides
Problems Associated with Pesticides
Balancing the Risks and Benefits
Toxicity of Pesticides for Humans
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Studies 18-19

Mycotoxins and Other Toxins from Unicellular Organisms
Some Health Problems Associated with Mycotoxins
Some Specific Mycotoxins
Economic Impact of Mycotoxins
Detoxification of Grains
Other Toxins in Unicellular Members of the Plant Kingdom
Review Questions
Further Reading

Animal and Plant Poisons
Toxic and Venomous Animals
Freshwater Algae
Toxic and Venomous Land Animals
Venomous Arthropods
Toxic Plants and Mushrooms
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Studies 20-26

Environmental Hormone Disrupters
Lake Apopka Incident
Brief Review of the Physiology of Estrogens and Androgens
Disruption of Endocrine Function
Plastic-Associated Chemicals
Results of Human Studies on Xenoestrogens
Effects of Xenoestrogens and Phytoestrogens in Livestock and Wildlife
Problems in Interpreting and Extrapolating Results to the Human Setting
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Study 27

Radiation Hazards
Sources and Types of Radiation
Measurement of Radiation
Some Major Nuclear Disasters of Historic and Current Importance
Radon Gas: The Natural Radiation
Tissue Sensitivity to Radiation
Cell Phone Use and Brain Tumors
Ultraviolet Radiation
Extra-Low Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation
Irradiation of Foodstuffs
Irradiation of Insect Pests
Review Questions
Further Reading
Case Study 28

Gaia and Chaos: How Things Are Connected
The Gaia Hypothesis
Chaos Theory
Other Examples of Interconnected Systems
Food Production and the Environment
The Environment and Cancer
Further Reading

Case Study Reviews


Author Bio(s)

Editorial Reviews

"The chapters are very well organized, providing a historical perspective on the toxicity of compounds and outlining the major categories within each class of toxins. The chapters provide useful review questions and references for further reading. … Ecosystems and Human Health: Toxicology and Environmental Hazards, Third Edition by Richard Philp provides a general overlook of a vast range of subjects that are of current interest in the field of toxicology. The compilation of such topics into a single book makes it a valuable resource for toxicologists requiring a general knowledge of the field."
—Richard A. Manderville, University of Guelph, Department of Chemistry, Ontario, Canada

"… comprehensive, detailed and balanced, covering major environmental hazards from the school playground to the depths of the oceans, from a glass of drinking water to the changing climate of the planet. This new edition should satisfy readers seeking background information about the dispersion of natural and anthropogenic toxicants as well as the mechanisms by which they disrupt living processes."
—Dr. Maurice Hirst, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

"… covers a broad area of study dealing with the relationship between human health and environmental hazards. It includes a chapter on radiation. A number of case studies are also found in the book, and a whole chapter is devoted to review of each of them. … also contains a number of well-known cases of environmental disasters or episodes. Inclusion of these should enhance the interest of the readers."
—Ming-Ho Yu, Western Washington University, Bellingham

"While most textbooks in the topic of toxicology and environmental sciences provide too much detailed and exhaustive information, Ecosystems and Human Health: Toxicology and Environmental Hazards offers a fast overview and summary of the principles of toxicity of hazards and complex relationship of hazards with human health and environmental safety. …The author conveys the impact of hazards on human health by presenting numerous examples and scenarios from all over the world. The case studies based on actual occurrences not only highlight the environmental impact on human health, but also help the reader understand and apply the toxicity knowledge to the real world."
––Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, January 2014