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Toxipedia was launched in June 2006 and has steadily grown, now offering more than a thousand pages of information on toxic chemicals, ethical considerations, laws and regulation, the history of toxicology, green chemistry, and much more. 

Our goal is to provide scientific information in the context of history, society, and culture so that the public has the information needed to make sound choices that protect both human and environmental health.

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Lessons Learned: Looking Back to Go Forward

#33: Upton Sinclair: An Early Call for Food Safety

Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. (September 20, 1878 – November 25, 1968), educated at Columbia University, is author of The Jungle (1906), which criticizes the terribly unsanitary conditions of the American meat-packing industry. The epic novel dramatized the exploitation of workers but also the unsafe quality of the food produced.

In response to The Jungle, President Roosevelt sent federal investigators to work in meat processing plants for a few weeks to obtain firsthand evidence of the atrocities. Despite a thorough cleansing by the meat packers upon hearing the regulators would be coming, the grounds and working conditions were found to be unsanitary. As a result, the Secretary of Agriculture was ordered to inspect all meat and reject any found unfit for human consumption via the Federal Meat Inspection Act, signed into law on June 30, 1906. On the same day, the Pure Food and Drug Act was signed into law. This signaled a major change in government oversight, aiming to protect consumers from potentially dangerous drugs and food and requiring that the consumer be given warning about the toxic or addictive nature of certain drugs or foods. This was the first  federal law regulating foods and drugs, and it defined "misbranding" and "adulteration" for the first time and prescribed penalties for each. Enforcement of the Act was assigned to the Bureau of Chemistry in the US Department of Agriculture, which was renamed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1930.

Today, over one hundred years after passage of the Act, adulterated food is still a problem, with recalls of various contaminated food products being commonplace. Such recalls are typically voluntary, and federal offices oftentimes lack funding to pursue thorough compliance. Well funded federal agencies such as the FDA, Dept. of Agriculture, and the EPA are essential to guarantee a safe food supply that ensures our children can reach and maintain their full potential.


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Milestones of Toxicology Poster Translated into Vietnamese!


Our popular Milestones of Toxicology poster was translated into Vietnamese by Anna Quach and Kevin Duong in July 2015!

To open or download the Vietnamese Milestone poster (PDF) click here! 

Vietnamese Abstract

Những Thay Đổi Quan Trọng Và Những Khám Phá Trong Lịch Sử Về Chất Độc Hại Tạo Ra Các Ngành Khoa Học Chất Độc

Steven G. Gilbert1 và  Antoinette Hayes2

1Institute of Neurotoxicology và Neurological Disorders và 2Northeastern University

Hàng ngàn năm qua, kiến thức về tính độc hại và kỹ thuật chữa bệnh từ tính chất dược liệu, động vật và khoáng sản đã tăng cường nền văn minh và văn hóa của mọi quốc gia. Các cơ sở của độc chất hiện đại ngày nay được xây dựng trên những khám phá bất ngờ, may mắn và sự thay đổi lớn trong quá trình thử nghiệm. Trong suốt các thời đại, khoa học độc hại đã cung cấp thông tin có thể giúp đỡ mọi người trong xã hội để nâng cao kiến thức và hiểu biết cách sử dụng để trị bệnh. Bài báo này sẽ xem xét sự phát triển của các kỷ luật độc chất và sử ảnh hưởng của nó đối với nền văn minh bằng cách viết những thay đổi quan trọng và những khám phá liên quan đến chất độc hại. Tất cả các ví dụ từ bài báo này sẽ làm sáng tỏ về sự khởi đầu của chất độc và quý vị sẽ học hỏi được từ những sai lầm của người trước đó cho mỗi thời đại. Dự án này cũng là một nỗ lực để kiểm tra độc chất học và người nghiên cứu chất độc như thế nào họ đã tương tác với các ngành khoa học và nền văn hóa khác,  kể cả tôn giáo, chính trị , và các chính phủ. Độc chất học đã phát triển đến một môn khoa học thực với các nhà khoa học chuyên dụng, cơ sở giáo dục, môn học, xã hội chuyên nghiệp, và tạp chí. Nó là thực thể riêng của nó trong khi vượt qua các lĩnh vực như hóa học, sinh lý học và dược học. Chúng tôi mời bạn cùng tham gia vào một đường khám phá và đưa ra các đề xuất của bạn như những cột mốc quan trọng nhất là gì và khám phá trong khoa chất độc là gì. Phiên bản tương tác của các poster có sẵn ở

Help Us Translate A Small Dose of Toxicology into Arabic!

Following the success of the 2nd edition of Steven Gilbert's A Small Dose of Toxicology, we are raising funds to produce an Arabic version! A Small Dose of Toxicology clearly presents the scientific basis around the adverse health effects of chemical exposures on humans and the environment. Our goal is to facilitate a basic understanding of the principles of toxicology in the Arab world and to help improve human health and well-being. Like the English edition, the Arabic edition will be made available as a free e-book.

Our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo has ended, but you can still donate through our website via PayPal!

Please support us! Click here!

A Small Dose of Toxicology Available in Chinese!

《生活中的毒理学》重点介绍了生活和工作中常见的化学物质,如酒精、咖啡因、尼古丁、杀虫剂、铅、汞、砷、金属、溶剂、持久性污染物、内分泌干扰 剂、动物 与植物毒素、家中的有毒化学物质以及辐射、纳米材料、空气污染对健康的影响。涵盖了有毒物质引发的不良反应、生物学特性(毒性作用)和易感人群以及与之相 关的监管标准、使用与接触这些物质的一些具体建议。特别介绍了化学品对神经系统、孕产与发育的毒性作用,以及癌症发生与化学品接触的关系。还生动地介绍了 毒理学基本原理、对化学品进行风险评估与管理的方法与原则、毒理学本身的历史起源与发展、毒理学涉及的伦理、法律与社会问题,以及每个人在日常生活中可能 遇到的毒理学问题,列出了可供深入学习与研究的网站与参考书。

The Chinese edition of A Small Dose of Toxicology: The Health Effects of Common Chemicals, by Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT, was published by Shanghai Scientific and Technical Publishers in December, 2013! This edition was translated by a team of Chinese toxicologists led by Drs. Zhijun Zhou, Xinsheng Gu, Jianghong Liu, et al. according to the revised and expanded second English edition. Chinese translations of the popular Milestones of Toxicology poster are also available. For more information on the book and the posters, visit! To download your free copy of the 2nd edition in English, visit!

New Resource: A Story of Health

Case-based learning has long been used in medical education. A Story of Health is an eBook that grounds the science of health in stories of fictional people, their families, and communities to enable readers to explore the risk factors for disease as well as how to prevent disease and promote health and resilience. Using the setting of a family reunion as a backdrop, the book explores how multiple environments influence our health across the lifespan.

The stories are accessible to an educated lay audience with more technical sections for scientists and medical professionals who can access free continuing education credits through the eBook. A Story of Health was developed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR); the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE); the University of California, San Francisco, Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (UCSF PEHSU); the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California EPA (OEHHA); and the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN).

"Scientists must make both science education and community outreach a much more central part of the scientific culture."

-Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-chief, Science magazine (Dec 3, 2010 editorial)