Book Review

Book Review: Principles and Methods of Toxicology, Fourth Edition
A. Wallace Hayes, Editor
Taylor & Francis Publishing, Inc.; Philadelphia 2001

Michael G. Holland, MD, FACMT, FACOEM, FACEP
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Penn State University College of Medicine
The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Occupational and Environmental Toxicologist
Penn Stat

Int J Med Toxicol 2001; 4(5): 41

Since the publication of the first edition of this textbook in 1982, it has served as an excellent resource for the laboratory toxicology investigator, as well as the student of toxicology. Subsequent editions have expanded its scope, and covered the many rapid advances that occurred, especially the ability to measure quantities of toxicants in the parts per billion and parts per trillion range. The various editions covered all aspects of the methods by which toxicologists measure the effects of specific chemicals on various animals and animal systems.

The newest edition is divided into three sections, and the first part of the text deals with the principles of toxicology, starting with an excellent review of toxicology through history, then explaining risk assessment, the regulatory process, and reference dose. There is also an excellent new section on epidemiology, which is very readable and well presented. This initial section also covers the requisite chapters on exposure assessment, toxicokinetics/pharmacokinetics, statistics, and a very useful chapter on extrapolating animal data to predict outcomes in humans. Many chapters in this section will be very useful references for occupational and environmental toxicologists, such as those on interspecies extrapolation, regulatory toxicology, risk assessment, and reference dose.

The second section covers the agents of toxicology, such as those found in foods, as well as solvents, agrochemicals, and metals. These sections give a brief summary of the specific toxicities of a multitude of agents, but does not attempt to be the definitive reference on the individual subjects, and rightly so. That is not the purpose of this text.

The third section, covering almost 60% of the text, describes the methods of toxicological assessment and testing. This section will be an invaluable reference for the medical toxicologist who seeks to understand the methods by which laboratory toxicologists use their animal models to assess specific organ toxicities of various xenobiotics. Contained here are chapters covering the methods for testing of toxicants that affect all the major organ systems, as well as organelles and enzymes. There is even a chapter on instrumentation, which covers GC/MS, NMR, and other technical methods of studying the mechanisms of toxicology.

Most practicing physician toxicologists have at least a basic understanding of animal studies, and many participate in research projects using animals to assess the toxicity of a substance, or to evaluate possible treatments for drug toxicities. However, many medical toxicologists are unfamiliar with the specific mechanics of actually performing these animal studies, and the intricacies involved in chronic dosing and feeding studies. This comprehensive tome is an excellent source that will provide this knowledge. Those toxicologists specializing in occupational and environmental toxicology will find this book especially useful.

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