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CABI Book Chapter

A handbook of environmental toxicology: human disorders and ecotoxicology.

Book cover for A handbook of environmental toxicology: human disorders and ecotoxicology.

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Chapter 13 (Page no: 187)

Dioxins II. Human exposure and health risks.

There are two very different facets of dioxins. On the one hand they are feared environmental 'superpoisons'; on the other hand they are highly interesting tools for studying the mechanisms of intracellular receptors, gene expression, growth and development of organs, metabolism of chemicals in the body, carcinogenesis, food intake and hunger, as well as interactions of chemicals, microbes and immunological systems. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR, AH receptor), through which most effects of dioxins are conveyed, is now seen as an important physiological actor in the body, similar to other intracellular receptors such as steroid or thyroid receptors, not only as a route to toxic effects. This also takes us back to the ultimate principle of Paracelsus: 'Alle Dinge sind Gift, und nichts ist ohne Gift, allein die Dosis macht dass ein Ding kein Gift ist' ('All things are poison, and nothing is without poison, the dosage alone makes it so that a thing is not a poison'). AH receptors are essential for life, their activation at certain levels regulates our wellbeing, but their inappropriate activation leads to multiple forms of toxicity. The chapter describes the chemistry and sources of dioxins, their behaviour in nature and in the body, their mechanisms of action, high but variable acute toxicity in animals and controversial delayed toxicity, carcinogenicity, and developmental toxicity - mostly from human viewpoint but in many instances based on animal experiments. Some interesting physiological roles of AH receptors, as revealed by dioxin studies, are briefly mentioned.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 3) Phytotoxins. Author(s): D'Mello, J. P. F.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 19) Mycotoxins. Author(s): D'Mello, J. P. F.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 33) Cyanobacterial toxins. Author(s): Metcalf, J. S. Souza, N. R.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 49) Amino acids and peptides as mediators of abiotic stress tolerance in higher plants. Author(s): D'Mello, J. P. F.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 75) Ozone I. Human disorders: an overview. Author(s): Silveyra, P. Fuentes, N. Rivera, L.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 93) Ozone II. Biophysical observations. Author(s): Thompson, K. C.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 105) Nitrogen dioxide: ambient exposure in human disorders. Author(s): Huang, Y. C. T. Tucker, J. L.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 114) Sulfur dioxide and human disorders. Author(s): Ahmad, S. Ahmad, A. Ahmad, A.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 127) Plant response to acid rain stress. Author(s): Liang, C.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 141) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: ecotoxicity in the aquatic environment and implications for human health. Author(s): Pampanin, D. M. Schlenk, D.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 156) The developmental neurotoxicity of polychlorinated biphenyls: a continuing environmental health concern. Author(s): Sethi, S. Lein, P. J.
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 173) Dioxins I. Dynamics and legal directives in Europe. Author(s): Dopico, M. Gómez, A.
Chapter: 14 (Page no: 206) Dioxins III. Relationship to pre-diabetes, diabetes and diabetic nephropathy. Author(s): Everett, C. J.
Chapter: 15 (Page no: 214) Environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals and human health. Author(s): Darbre, P. D.
Chapter: 16 (Page no: 233) Organochlorine insecticides: neurotoxicity. Author(s): Caudle, W. M.
Chapter: 17 (Page no: 246) Organophosphates I. Human health effects and implications for the environment: an overview. Author(s): Wille, T. Thiermann, H. Worek, F.
Chapter: 18 (Page no: 261) Organophosphates II. Neurobehavioural problems following low-level exposure: methodological considerations for future research. Author(s): Ross, S. J. M. Harrison, V.
Chapter: 19 (Page no: 282) Glyphosate as a glycine analogue. Author(s): Seneff, S.
Chapter: 20 (Page no: 299) Crude oil pollution I. Deepwater Horizon contamination: human health effects and health risk assessments, a case study. Author(s): Wilson, M. J.
Chapter: 21 (Page no: 311) Crude oil pollution II. Effects of the Deepwater Horizon contamination on sediment toxicity in the Gulf of Mexico. Author(s): Montagna, P. A. Arismendez, S. S.
Chapter: 22 (Page no: 320) Crude oil pollution III. Exxon Valdez contamination: ecological recovery, a case study. Author(s): Haycox, S.
Chapter: 23 (Page no: 334) Review of studies of composition, toxicology and human health impacts of wastewater from unconventional oil and gas development from shale. Author(s): Crosby, L. M. Orem, W. H.
Chapter: 24 (Page no: 353) Minamata disease and methylmercury exposure. Author(s): Hachiya, N.
Chapter: 25 (Page no: 371) Lead poisoning. Author(s): Katner, A. L. Mielke, H. W.
Chapter: 26 (Page no: 384) Cadmium I. Exposure and human health effects: an overview. Author(s): Åkesson, A. Kippler, M.
Chapter: 27 (Page no: 394) Cadmium II. Cardiovascular effects of human exposure to cadmium: left ventricular structure and function. Author(s): Yang, W. Y. Staessen, J. A.
Chapter: 28 (Page no: 405) Particulates from combustion sources: formation, characteristics and toxic hazards. Author(s): Purser, D. A.
Chapter: 29 (Page no: 424) Assessment of the ecotoxicity of airborne particulate matter. Author(s): Kováts, N.
Chapter: 30 (Page no: 436) Toxicity of microplastics in the marine environment. Author(s): Santana, M. F. M. Turra, A.
Chapter: 31 (Page no: 457) UV exposure and skin-protective effects of plant polyphenols. Author(s): Agulló-Chazarra, L. Pérez-Sánchez, A. Herranz-López, M. Micol, V. Barrajón-Catalán, E.
Chapter: 32 (Page no: 475) Radon I. Lung cancer risks. Author(s): Melloni, B.
Chapter: 33 (Page no: 484) Radon II. Leukaemia or CNS cancer risks among children. Author(s): Kollerud, R. del R.
Chapter: 34 (Page no: 497) Fukushima nuclear accident: potential health effects inferred from butterfly and human cases. Author(s): Otaki, J. M.
Chapter: 35 (Page no: 517) Microbial remediation of contaminated soils. Author(s): Shahsavari, E. Mansur, A. A. Aburto-Medina, A. Haleyur, N. Jones, N. Ball, A. S.
Chapter: 36 (Page no: 531) Metallic iron for environmental remediation: prospects and limitations. Author(s): Noubactep, C.
Chapter: 37 (Page no: 545) Remediation of contaminated soil by biochar. Author(s): Sima, X. F. Jiang, H.
Chapter: 38 (Page no: 561) Environmental regulations in China. Author(s): He, G. Z.
Chapter: 39 (Page no: 577) 21st Century toxicology: methods for environmental toxicology and monitoring. Author(s): Lundqvist, J.
Chapter: 40 (Page no: 587) Unequivocal evidence associating environmental contaminants and pollutants with human morbidity and ecological degradation. Author(s): D'Mello, J. P. F.

Chapter details

  • Author Affiliation
  • National Institute for Health and Welfare, Kuopio, and the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2020
  • ISBN
  • 9781786394675
  • Record Number
  • 20193493743