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Flashcards in Historical Background Deck (29):

define toxicology:

toxicology is the study of the harmful effects of chemical or physical agents on living organisms, the mechanisms underlying these effects and the conditions under which they are likely to occur


why is toxicology different to other sciences ?

toxicology requires public dimension- responsibility because of the need to assess the safety of chemicals to which we are exposed


what is the ebers papyrus?

lists of recipes for medicines to treat various illnesses and describes the poisonous properties of some plants and plant products
dated about 1500BC


what is hellebore?

it is a plant
its crushed roots poisoned water which then contained toxins- hellebrin
hellebrin targets sodium/potassium ATPase in the heart and this severly affects cardiac function causing death


in the bronze age what were poisons used in ?

in greece in 1300-1100BC poisons were used in warfare
trojan war- arrows were coated in a variety of poisonous substances so that even a minor wound could be fatal


what occurred in about 600BC ?

first documented case of deliberate mass poisoning
athens and sicyon beseiged the city of kirrha - seige came to an end when the attackers poisoned the water supplies to the city with the roots of hellebore plant
caused the people of kirrha to become incapacitated so they could defend themselves


what occurred in about 400BC?

the state directed murder of the philospher socrates in 399BC
socrates was convicted of corrupting athenian youth and interfering with the religion of the city
socrates penalty was death so he took it into his own hands and drank a fatal draft of hemlock


what happened in about 100BC?

mithridates VI of pontus ruled northern western turkey
obessed with poisons and feared being poisoned
he poisoned several members of his own family to try and discover theriac - universal antidote to all poisons
credited with discovery of a complex mixture of of antidotes= mithridatium


what occurred in 32BC ?

roman dictator sulla passed first laws against poisoning and sale, purchase and possession
even though this was present poisoning remained a important method for eliminating political rivals


what happened in about 130AD?

nicander of colophon wrote oldest book to have survived from ancient times on the subject of poisoning and treatments


what happened in the dark ages ?

little development of toxicology because there are not many records from this period
jewish scholar moses maimonides published text on poisons and their antidotes which was very influential
the early alchemists discovered white arsenic "KING OF POISONS" arsenic remained poisoners favourite toxicant until the development in the 19th century of reliable tests that could detect it


what happened in the renaissance ?

1402- pietro d'abano produced a handbook on poisons
renaissance italy and france poisoning for financial, political or sexual gain were common
borgia and medici families frequently poisoned rivals to maintain wealth and power


give examples of professional poisoners in the renaissance period ?

toffana of naples and catherine deshayes monvoisin


what is the central dogma of toxicology and who coined it ?

paracelsus in 16th century
"poison is in everything and no thing is without poison. the dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy "



what happened in the 17 and 18th centuries ?

= age of enlightenment
start of 18th century bernadino ramazzini published his work on the health of workers and said that "sordid profit comes at the expense of worker health"- he is the founder of occupational therapy

Felice fontana showed that european viper venom selectively induced paralysis of muscle. he also looked at the effects of opium

1775- sir percival pott reported his incidence of scrotal cancer in chimmney sweepers = first recorded case of occupational cancer - the beginning of industrial toxicology


who was the spaniard mathieu orfila?

chemist and physician
founder of modern toxicology
pioneered systematic study of toxic substances and wrote treatise on poisons -1817


who was charles turner thackrah ?

published first treatise of industrial hygiene-1831


what advances in chemistry occurred in 1800-1900?

isolation of morphine from opium and quinine from cinochona bark
first reliable tests for arsenic were developed by marsh in 1836 and by reinsch in 1842
Megendies, bernard and langley laid down foundation of modern physiology and pharmacology
there were advances in biology and chemistry allowing development of foresenic toxicology, discovery of xenobiotic metabolism and detoxification and more rigourous assesment of chemical toxicity in animals


what happened between 1900-1930?

1915- yamagiwa and ichikawa showed that painting the ears of rabbits with coal tar leads to tumour formation - first demonstration of chemical carcinogenesis prompting discovery of the causes of these effects
18 years later lead to discovery of benzopyrene
chemical waarfare in ww1 - 100000 tons of toxicant gases are used


what did a team of german scientist develop in 1940s?

gerhard schrader
developed organophosphate insecticides and nerve gases - sarin and tabun


what did sir rudolf peters develop in 1940s

developed british anti-lewisite as an antidote to chemical warfare agent lewisite
it was never actually used in warfare
it was able to chelate heavy metals so it was used in the treatment of poisoning from arsenic, mercury, lead, gold


what did warkany and coworkers discover in the 1940s?

demonstrated that environmental factors such as dietary deficiencies and exposure to radiation adversely intrauterine development of mammals


what did gregg recognise in 1941?

that maternal infection with rubella virus may cause birth defects


when was the clean air introduced and why ?

the london smog in 1952 is thought to have caused 4000 deaths of mainly elderly people with lung and heart disease


what was introduced in 1958?

US congress passed the delaney clause - stated that any chemical found to be carcinogenic in animals or man couldnt be added to the us food supply
this affected safety assessments of chemicals especially pesticids and food additives
e.g widespread use of DDT in the 1950s - caused serious damage to wildlife - banned in 1970s


who was rachel carson and what did she do ?

in 1961 she published "silent spring" - book fuelled the beginning of the environmental movement


what happened at minamata bay japan ?

outbreak of mercury poisoning in human population - highlighted the importance of disposal of industrial waste


what was the thalidomide disaster ?

late 1950s to 1960s
caused children to be born with deformities such as the abscence of limbs


what disasters have occurred since 1970s to now ?

explosion of chemical plants at seveso and bhopal
accidents at many nuclear plants- usa, chernobyl, ukraine and japan
deployment of chemical warfare in syria