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INTRODUCTION

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Medical toxicology is a subspecialty focusing on the diagnosis, management, and prevention of poisoning and other adverse health effects due to drugs, occupational and environmental toxic substances, and biological agents. All substances are potentially toxic; it is the dose that makes the poison. Many activities, including occupations and hobbies, can result in exposure to toxic substances. Although occupational exposure to toxic substances is considered to be underreported, it is estimated that 5% of all poison control consultations are occupationally related, suggesting a high rate of chemical exposure in the workplace. Table 16–1 lists selected activities and potential toxic exposures. Historically, many populations have also been recognized to be at risk for toxic environmental exposure (Table 16–2).

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Table 16–1.Selected job processes at high risk for specific toxic exposures.
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Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 16–2.Examples of toxic exposures affecting public health.

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